In 2004, four people who received botulinum toxin developed symptoms of botulism. When this story broke, plastic surgeons knew something strange had happened. It didn’t make sense. Indeed, it turned out that the unlicensed osteopathic doctor who injected himself, his wife, and two friends had used industrial grade botulinum toxin—intended for research and not for clinical practice. The bottle that was injected contained ten million units of toxin, not the one hundred units contained in a bottle of Botox.
One unit of Botox can kill a mouse. The lethal dose of Botox in humans is three thousand units, which is thirty times the recommended maximum dose. I guess that doctor missed the pharmacology lecture in medical school! He’ll have plenty of time to study this topic now, since he was sentenced to three years in a federal prison.
In 2005 an Oregon physician and his nurse were indicted for using unapproved botulinum toxin in eight hundred patients. The only reason any doctor would use this unapproved drug is to save money. Veterinary-, research-, or foreign-grade materials are cheaper.
About once a month, I used to receive a fax offering research-grade botulinum toxin. I always threw away the ad, wondering why the company would solicit a practicing surgeon rather than a researcher. I now know that the company banked on finding unethical, greedy doctors. I wonder how many used this toxin instead of Botox. The moral of this story is this: Choose your surgeon wisely—character matters in politics and in plastic surgery. For added safety, if you’re unsure of your surgeon or if the fee is suspiciously low, ask to see the bottle before the Botox is drawn into the syringe.
WATCH VIDEO: How Botox Works
Years of Botox Actually Costs Less than Muscle Removal Surgery
The major drawback of Botox is its short duration. Botox of the glabella costs about $500 and must be repeated three times a year, so over seven years a patient would spend $10,500. Some might think that surgery would be cheaper. However, a brow-lift with excision of the corrugator muscles costs about the same as the seven years of Botox. But if invested at 5 percent interest, the amount spent on the surgery would yield $500 per year, extending the use of Botox by another two or so years. By the nine years of Botox that you could afford with your surgical fee, your muscles might have regenerated and wrinkles might well have returned. For this reason I believe Botox is better than surgery.
Hollywood will never be the same, now that Botox has been found to decrease underarm sweating. About a dozen injections will keep the underarms dry for several months. Sweating decreases by over 80 percent. Similarly, sweating on the palms of the hand and the soles of the feet can be lessened with Botox. The treatment is painful and fairly expensive.
People who grind their teeth may develop large muscles, called masseters. Injection of Botox into these muscles can decrease their size.
Botox is currently in use for hundreds of other medical problems, including the treatment of migraine headaches and overactive bladders. It has truly become a chemical knife for many problems.
And now Botox has been used to lift breasts! The fact that this procedure is totally illogical doesn’t stop some people from trying. It has even been injected into the wrinkles above the knees. While you may not be able to walk properly afterward, your knees will look beautiful . . .
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