Botox Safety

March 1, 2007

Should you? Could anything bad happen? Do questions similar to these race through your mind when you're considering cosmetic injectables?

Should you? Could anything bad happen? Do questions similar to these race through your mind when you're considering cosmetic injectables?

"It is perfectly understandable to have reservations before embarking on any sort of cosmetic enhancement," says cosmetic surgeon Jean Carruthers, M.D., Vancouver, British Columbia, one of the pioneers in the art of injecting Botox.

"Having some reservations is actually a good thing, as it will help you make intelligent decisions that may effect the outcome of the procedure you select."

But a great deal depends on whom you select to treat you.

"Finding a dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, plastic surgeon or oculoplastic surgeon who has a lot of experience with Botox or any filler is essential. To help you find an experienced physician for the administration of Botox, you can refer to http://www.botoxcosmetic.com/ for a list of accredited dermatologists in your area.

"When it comes to making decisions concerning your well-being, you have everything to gain by asking questions. The more you ask, the more you know," explains this widely regarded expert in the field.

"Once you have selected a physician, check out his or her reputation. Do you know anyone else who has been treated by this doctor? Were they happy with the results they got?"

HOW TO PREPARE If you are meeting this physician for the first time on the day of the procedure, dr. carruthers says it is fair to ask to see the vial of botox and see the contents come out of the vial.

Other questions to ask of your physician include:

1. What gauge needle are you using? (A 31-or 32-gauge needle is recommended.)

2. With what are you diluting the Botox? (A special kind of saline solution is recommended.)

3. Are you going to use a topical anesthetic? (This will help give you greater physical comfort.)

Are you in safe hands if you go to someone other than an accredited physician? "Absolutely not," emphasizes Dr. Carruthers.

Never let anyone except a dermatologist or board-certified dermasurgeon or cosmetic surgeon administer any kind of cosmetic facial injection.

"Your gynecologist's office manager may have set herself up to give Botox injections, and her price may be less expensive and enticing, but don't do it. The requisite training just isn't there. The same is true for medi-spas. There won't be anyone there to help if something goes wrong."

You can do several things to help ensure that your procedure goes well, too. For a week beforehand do not take any aspirin or vitamin E. Avoid foods such as onion, garlic, tomatoes and red pepper, all of which thin the blood. After your procedure, don't massage the area in which you received the injection, and sleep with your head higher than your heart - two pillows should do it.

Overall, Dr. Carruthers says, in the right hands you can feel perfectly safe with injections of Botox or fillers. The substances are not the issue; the administration is. So do your homework.