There has been a recent explosion in the use of facial fillers, Botox, and other injectable products. These products have been popular for multiple reasons including little downtime and nearly instant results. However, unqualified injectors have been seizing the opportunity to “try” Botox on unsuspecting patients. There have been many recent stories of patients suffering from an unqualified injector. In New Jersey, a doctor injected hydrogel into 6 women’s buttocks with which resulted in permanent damage to the area and life threatening surgery. A woman in Texas was recently arrested for selling Botox kits from her basement and injecting herself. Many lay people are attempting to make house calls using Botox, Botox-like products, silicone or other facial fillers. And many patients assume that a person injecting them is qualified to inject them.
Myth: All products are basically the same, there is no reason to not buy off brand injectables.
A disturbing trend is the sale of prescription drugs is the unregulated fashion on the internet. Many of the products sold online are false or look a likes. While buying a fake Louis Vuitton cannot hurt you physically, buying “bad Botox” or facial filler can literally rip the skin off of your face or other body part. Many of these bogus products may even look like and appear like the real product, making it even more difficult to consumer to tell.
Myth: Anyone can inject Botox or facial filler.
Incorrect injection with facial filler or Botox can create permanent damage to your body. From a safety standpoint, sterile technique is critical to reduce the chance for infection prior to the injection. More importantly, the injector requires intimate knowledge of the facial anatomy. As a facial plastic surgeon, I see variation in facial anatomy from one person to another which requires adaptation of technique. Just as anyone can use a scalpel, knowing what to do with it is one of the critical steps.
Myth: I will save money if I get Botox or filler from an unqualified injector.
The cost of facial filler and Botox is roughly the same for each injector if it is the “real stuff”. The variation in cost are based on diagnosis of area needing rejuvenation, use of right facial filler/amount of Botox, placement of Botox and facial filler, and correct follow up. Sounds easy, right? I see many patients in my office who are unsatisfied with the outside injector experiences due to improper dosage, poor filler location, and poor understanding of facial aging process leading to a lackluster result or an over-injected appearance (sorry Real Housewives of Any City). The cost for filler from a qualified injector and an unqualified injector is usually around the same cost to slightly more. If the result does not work, patients do not save any money since they did not get the intended result.
Myth (Maybe): My doctor oversees the injector who is an RN, nurse practitioner, physician assistant so I should be fine.
The advice of the Injection Coalition is that nurses or physician assistants may be qualified to inject if they are working under the guidance of a plastic surgeon, dermatologist, or facial plastic surgeon. The premise is that the plastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon or dermatologist will take complete responsibility for the injector working for them and has trained them.
However, Dr. Shah’s belief is that facial fillers and Botox are highly specialized practice, so he injects each patient personally and does not use a nurse or physician assistant in his practice.
Myth: My injector is a dentist, so her or she can inject facial filler or Botox.
In the state of Illinois, dentists cannot use Botox. Even if dentists could use Botox or facial filler, is that person qualified to inject a substance in the face (not the mouth)?
Myth: An internist, obstetrician and gynecology or podiatrist is a safe choice for an injector. Any medical doctor is, right?
For reasons outlined above, knowledge about general medicine or another part of the body is not the same as knowledge of facial anatomy and aesthetics. An office which is devoted completely to facial aesthetics is much more likely qualified than an office which offers injections as a side or ‘add on’ service.
Myth: It’s fine to just order a product on the internet and inject it myself.
Not only is it illegal (a person was recently arrested in Texas for selling Botox and showing how to inject herself on YouTube videos) it is dangerous. When it comes to the internet, a vast resource, buyers beware since many products are either bogus or counterfeit.