We have all seen the ads: Botox treatments half-off! The prices shown may be a one-time offer to attract new patients. More likely, however, the Botox has been watered down to decrease the amount of botulinum toxin — and therefore the effectiveness — in each injection.
Another possibility: The Botox has been sitting around for a while once it has been mixed with serum. (This is a form of neglect that’s more common with practices don’t have much experience with Botox.)
The worst-case scenario is that you’re being injected with fake Botox, and the results can be disastrous. Systemic complications and even death have been reported from the use of fake Botox.
The FDA recently sent out another warning about rampant fake Botox and filler use, and named physicians who were linked to its use. Hundreds of doctors were included in the report, some from Orange County and Westchester. A prominent plastic surgery group in Albany was also indicted.
Botox fakery may be more common among practitioners who are non-core, meaning cosmetic surgery is not their primary field. They may attempt to make their pricing more competitive to offset their lack of specialization.
Spas and hair salons are also offering injectable treatments — spas will often contract with a nurse or physician and often share in the profits. But for these arrangements to be profitable, they may have to bring down the cost of their Botox. This is done either by watering it down or using fake Botox.
Homework for Patients
My personal opinion is that any practice that has to rely on a hair salon or spa for Botox clients may not have sufficient patient volume on its own. There may be a reason for that. Do your homework.
One way to determine whether you’re being fed fake Botox is to look at the expiration date on the glass vial. It should match the expiration date on the carton it came out of.
Another warning sign is a vial that says, “For Research Purposes Only, Not For Human Use.”
You’d be astounded at how casually a shady practitioner will leave damning evidence lying around in plain sight on the assumption that you, the patient, won’t bother to ask or look.
It’s unfortunate that Botox’s popularity has put consumers in the position of having to guard against fraud. But consumer awareness is a component of patient safety.
If you’re not the type of patient to demand a closer look at vials and cartons in the doctor’s office, at the very least approach “discounted” treatments with caution. Don’t be lured by prices that look — and probably are — are too good to be true.
And beware of “Botox parties.”
— Dr. Rubinstein
A practitioner in facial plastics in the Hudson Valley for 14 plus years, Dr. Rubinstein combines science and art in every treatment plan. In addition to aesthetic procedures such as otoplasty, chin augmentation, and neck lift surgery, the doctor is also an expert in surgeries like septoplasty to improve the functionality of the nose. Dr. Rubinstein is a dual-board certified through the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and is an Assistant Professor at New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.
Visit this website’s photo gallery to see examples of patients before and after Botox treatments with Dr. Rubinstein.
To consult with the doctor, and to discuss procedures, recovery times and any potential complications, call Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, PC in Hudson Valley, NY, at (845) 863-1772. Or contact us through the office consult form.