Injection of Botulinum Type A, more commonly known as Botox®, is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed each year in the Unites States. The FDA formally approved it in 2002 to treat the area between the eyebrows, relaxing the muscles that cause expression lines and thus preventing wrinkles from forming and improving the appearance of existing wrinkles.
In fact, Botox was the most popular cosmetic procedure in 2008—with plastic surgeons administering about 5 million injections to patients. Many patients find Botox to be an excellent way to maintain a youthful appearance, whether to help them stay competitive in the job market or simply to be more comfortable with their appearance and enjoy a positive self-image.
Unfortunately, this popularity has also given many consumers the impression that Botox is a simple procedure and can be performed virtually anywhere—even at a party! Botox treatments are safe when performed by a qualified clinician in an appropriate setting. But too often, ill-advised “Botox parties” are held outside of the doctor’s office, in private homes, hotel suites or other places that may lack the proper tools to ensure sterility or manage unforeseen emergencies. If you are interested in having Botox, consider these important questions:
•Have I provided a complete medical history to the person administering Botox?
•Are there any alternative treatments that would be better for me?
•Have I been advised of the risks of receiving Botox injections and given my informed consent?
•Is a qualified surgeon or clinician administering the treatment?
•Is the physical setting appropriate for administering medical treatment, including handling emergency situations?
•Am I sure that it is really Botox that is being injected?
•Do I understand, and will I follow, post-treatment instructions?
•What type of follow-up care do I need?
To make sure that you have the safest plastic surgery experience possible, we strongly recommend setting up a consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon. Many surgeons will likely require a pre-treatment consultation. This meeting is the surgeon’s chance to educate you about the benefits and risks associated with Botox, assess whether or not you are a good candidate for Botox, and help manage your expectations. It is also your opportunity to ask questions about the qualifications and experience of the person administering the injections and become educated about pre- and post-operative care issues.
By Barbara Wells
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