Ever wondered about the relationship between Botox and doctors? Well, today is the day when you’re wondering ends…

Every patient is aware that Botox treatments are expensive. In fact, we’d wager that this is the first consideration of most of them. But what very few realize is that doctors usually get so little profit from doing Botox. The fact of the matter is that it’s not a big ticket item in cosmetic medicine. Here’s the simple reason why: the drug, by itself, is expensive. Which means that even your trusty clinic bears the brunt of the high price of the drug.

According to this report, a vial of Botox containing 100 units carried a price tag of $525 last year, 2009. That translates to a bottom line cost of $5.25 per unit.

While prices vary per region, clinics typically charge their patients $10 per unit. That’s a little less than twice the cost of the drug itself! Let’s consider this for a moment. The $4.75 you pay on top of the cost of Botox will cover the following expenses: utilities (electricity and water), salary of all of the staff (yes, you pay not only for your Botox injector but also for everybody in the payroll), operating expenses and lease expenses (for the office and equipments), among other things. Of course all these costs are distributed among all the clients and you only shoulder a fraction of the overall expense. But, do you see how far doctors and clinics stretch the little margin they get per treatment?

Here’s an illustration so you may see the situation even better. A regular treatment of the glabellar lines for women require 20 units of Botox so, you will be paying the clinic $200 dollars for the procedure – $105 for the Botox, $95 for all of the other expenses that was already mentioned. Can you imagine what will be left as net profit? Gets you thinking, huh?

You might now be wondering why a lot of physicians are still deciding to add Botox to the services they offer. Here’s the answer to that one: Botox is a great introductory service and since it’s one of the most sought after treatments, it’s a fabulous way to obtain new clients. Making Botox patients happy can lead to a long term relationship that will (hopefully) include some of the ‘big ticket’ procedures. We know it sounds very utilitarian but this is the reality of the business side of things…

Now, let us make it clear that we aren’t divulging this info to disillusion you or to make you cynical. We just want you to see the other side of the coin. Before you think that your doctor is ripping you off with the price of his services, you should consider the things we pointed out above. Keeping these little bits of info in mind may help you understand your Botox provider and get you better treatments.

Hey guys! Have we got a treat for you!

We’re going on a 3-day journey… one, we’re sure, you never thought you needed to take.

By way of introduction, let us share with you the reason why we’re doing this.

While we were doing research for the Botox Guide (which, by the way, we can’t wait to share with you!), we realized how getting into the mind of your physician can help you get safer, cheaper and better Botox treatments. It will help you see things through their eyes and sortof learn to play their game… but you create your own rules.

If you want to discover how they learn to inject Botox, what they actually think of the treatment and how medical malpractice figures into the equation, then you better bookmark our site now. We’ll be dishing out insider information you won’t get anywhere else!

So, without further ado, here is where your 3 days in the shoes of your Botox provider begins:

Day 1: the crash course that is the Botox Training

Medical practitioners, who seek to add Botox to their respective roster of services, usually start with training. Here’s a sample schedule of one such Botox training course:

8:00am – 12:00nn: Botox Training

Lessons include the following:

  • history of the drug,
  • the science behind how the drug works (or what is known as pharmacology)
  • proper storage, handling and reconstitution,
  • indications, contraindications and side effects
  • human facial anatomy and physiology
  • injection techniques for different treatment areas
  • pre and post treatment care

12:00nn – 1:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm – 3:30pm: Training on Dermal Fillers

Yes, the other half of the day is devoted to other cosmetic procedures. Botox is usually lumped with dermal fillers because they are both injectables and are, in that sense, similar.

3:30pm onwards: Hands-on Training for Botox and Fillers

This is where the day gets exciting. The physicians attending the seminar get to practice their new-found knowledge on actual people. However, there’s a catch. There’s a limited number of ‘live models’ on whom they can practice. We’re venturing a guess of a maximum of 3-5 people per attendee. While some may think that’s enough, we believe otherwise.

There’s a difference between those who are legally allowed and who are qualified to perform Botox treatments. Anyone with a medical license can inject Botox. But being qualified takes more than just a day’s worth of lectures.

Also, merely reading materials and watching other people perform the treatments do not result in Botox expertise. Experience, specifically performing the procedure on hundreds (even thousands) of patients is still the best way to perfect this skill.

It is through experience that the injector learns about the differences in the facial musculature of every individual, how such differences would affect where the Botox is injected and how much of the drug is used as well as what techniques increase or decrease the risk of side effects. This kind of knowledge cannot be acquired in just a few hours. This is why we can’t stress enough how important it is to check how long your doctor’s been administering Botox and how many patients he’s already treated. Knowing these may help you decide on who you will trust to wield that Botox laden needle.

Note though that the more experienced injectors charge higher than the new ones. Think of it this way: the new Botox doctors charge less because they get to practice on you. You, then, become a prelude to their expertise. We’re not saying that this is wrong. We just wanted to let you know so you can make an informed choice on the matter. At the end of the day, your decision will prevail and we trust that you will weigh the pros and cons carefully.

The FDA approved the use of Botox for migraine headaches just last October 15. Here’s a little Q&A that addresses your most pressing questions:

How will I know if I have chronic migraine?

You have chronic migraine if you experience headaches on most days of the month (at least 15 days each month).

The common symptom is intense pulsing or throbbing pain in an area of the head accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. (sidenote: The FDA recognizes that the condition is more common in women than in men.)

What will I experience during the treatment?

During treatment, the physician will inject Botox around the head and neck area. Injections will have to be repeated every 12 weeks for the continuous prevention of headaches.

Reminder: Make sure that your physician is familiar with using Botox for migraines, specifically. Remember that different muscles are treated for varying conditions and expertise in using the drug for 1 condition does not translate to expertise for the others.

Are there any side effects?

The most common complaints of patients who’ve had Botox injections for migraines are neck pain and headache. Note, though, that these are only temporary and they do go away.

What does this mean for me?

This may well be good news for you if you suffer from chronic migraines! You may be able to get your insurance to shoulder the cost of treatments like this. The Director of the FDA’s Division of Neurology Products considers chronic migraine as one of the most disabling forms of headache that greatly affects family, social and work life. Because of this, the FDA deemed it necessary to provide patients with options to address their condition – one of those being Botox.

Despite its only recent FDA approval, doctors have been using the drug off-label to treat this same condition. In case you’re worrying about safety, don’t! Numerous clinical studies have been conducted to test its efficacy and it won’t get the green light from the FDA if it wasn’t safe for use on humans. If you suffer from chronic migraines and would like to try Botox, be sure to consult your physician first.

via Medical Spa MD

A lot of women have shunned Botox use because – let’s admit it – there’s more bad than good reviews in popular media  about the drug and its effects.

Here are 3 reasons for its infamy:

1.    Hollywood

Yes, you read right: the glitzy and glamorous Hollywood.

Let’s cut through the fluff and admit that some of the worst ambassadors for Botox are celebrities. In fact, most patients refer to some of them when describing how they don’t want to look after a treatment.

It’s also very possible that one of the more famous Botox myths – that you become incapable of emotions – sprung forth from its star-encrusted streets. I, personally, believe it started from directors who complained that their actors became unable to convey the emotions required in a scene.

It doesn’t help either that these actors get photographed so often that before and after pictures are so easy to come by (Perez Hilton probably has a whole gallery of them!). And because the effects are so drastic sometimes, people can’t help but notice.

2.    Botox Scams

A definite cause of infamy is Botox scams. While it’s good that these con games are found out, publicized and their masterminds prosecuted, they also spawn a negative stigma that people assume to be fact. They create what I like to call Botox Terror. Unfortunately, this fear is usually misplaced and is based on misconceptions.

For one, these scams commonly involve fake Botox – not just any harmless placebo but the shouldn’t-be-used-on-people-because-they-can-kill kind. Secondly, these are generally marketed as DIY kits that require self-injection – an absolute no-no, unless you’re willing to run the risk of poking your eye out or puncturing blood vessels in your face!

3.    People assume they know everything there is to know about Botox

Now, this is the absolute culprit for Botox’s growing bad rep.

Everybody has an opinion on the drug and the loudest voices are probably those of its detractors. Unfortunately, some of the most emphatic of them know squat about the real deal. They take what they’ve read, watched or heard from some random tabloid or magazine and accept it as truth without verifying it first.

For those who are interested, here’s the real score: Botox, produced by Allergan, is a safe drug. However, most people often gloss over the fact that a Botox treatment is still a medical procedure that carries risks, especially if the drug is misused. Your best ally would be to keep an open mind and take everything you read with a grain of salt. Read up and research and see if everything checks out. Remember, the smart patients get the best and safest treatments so it definitely pays to be one of them!

Who among you knew that there was such a thing as Botox immunity? It’s not one of the more known info about Botox, that’s for sure!

But yes, there have been cases of patients having a Botox immunity. They get the shots but don’t see the results. Too bad, eh? Well, here’s the skinny on this little known fact about this often-used drug.

Causes:

  • OVER-DOSAGE: physicians say that this is the most common cause of Botox immunity. When too much of the drug is used, the body starts developing antibodies that counteracts its effect. Note, though, that this usually happens when Botox is used to treat other conditions like cerebral palsy where large dosages are really used for treatment.
  • SUBSEQUENT TREATMENTS: the effects of Botox are said to be cumulative if you go in for your next treatment before the drug completely wears off. This will be tantamount to over-dosage that builds-up through procedures in intervals of 2-3 months, spanning a period of years.
  • UNDER-DOSAGE: in case you can’t see any results after, there is a possibility that the Botox used for your treatment was watered down. In this instance, immunity is not the problem – your Botox provider is ripping you off using an over-diluted drug! You can either go in and demand your money’s worth or consider that as a lesson learned and find an honest and experienced physician who will inject you with the right potency.

Quick fixes:

  • You can have your blood tested for the antibodies

This will set the record straight and you can act according to the results. If you do not have the antibodies, then chances are you’re being duped by your physician. If you have the antibodies in your system, then read on because we have some tips to deal with that…

  • Try other Botulinum toxin products

You have a choice between Dysport and Myobloc. Dysport is derived from Botulinum Toxin Type A (like Botox) but they have different inactive ingredients that may just do the trick. Another (more) possible option is Myobloc since its active ingredient is the Type B strain of the toxin. The latter is what they usually recommend to patients that are found to be immune to the Type A drugs.

  • Try Non-surgical Cosmetic Procedures

You have several options on the non-surgical cosmetic medicine front. A few of the treatments that you can consider are fillers, Restylane, Juvederm and laser resurfacing. They’re all intended to decrease the appearance of wrinkles. Some people say they’re not at par with Botox but, we think, considering your specific circumstance, you’ve got nothing to lose!

Here are 5 of the most frequently asked questions about Botox treatments that we’ve collected from blogs, forums and comments all over the web. These are real concerns that real women have expressed on the topic of Botox treatment.

1.    How long will the procedure last?

A Botox treatment lasts an average of 20 minutes.

2.    What part of the face does it work best on?

Botox will work best on parts of the face that have dynamic wrinkles. While the topic of dynamic wrinkles is best discussed separately, I will say that they can be found in the following areas of the face: forehead, crow’s feet, between the eyebrows and smile lines.

3.    What happens during the procedure?

A Botox treatment begins with the reconstitution of the drug, followed by the treatment proper where the doctor will use a very fine needle to inject the drug into the body of the muscle.  Yes, you read right, Botox is injected into the muscle and not the skin.

4.    Does is hurt?

Some patients have experienced slight discomfort during injection but they also said that it didn’t last longer than a few seconds.  Because there is little to no pain involved, a Botox treatment usually does not require any anesthesia.

5.    Can I resume my regular activities after treatment?

Yes, you can go back to your regular activities after treatment.  There is no downtime after a procedure but you do have to follow some post treatment measures to prevent side effects from occurring.

-o-

These are just a handful of the important issues that we will be talking about in the Guide.  Other topics include how to choose your doctor, questions that you should ask during your consultation and tips on lowering the cost of your Botox treatment.

Leave us a comment below if you have any other concerns that you want us to include. This Guide is for you and is being made with you in mind.  We want to address most, if not all, of your concerns so sound off and get your Botox concern heard and answered!

Are you the right candidate for Botox?

Still trudging along the lines of Botox safety, we are thinking to include a section on how to check if you are the right candidate for a Botox treatment.

Botox, despite all the bad press surrounding its use, is a really safe drug that has not been reported, as yet, to cause severe illnesses such as paralysis or even death.  But because it is still precisely that, a drug, there are some possible side effects that can be triggered or aggravated by circumstances that exist prior to the treatment.  Should you have any of such condition, it is highly recommended that you inform your chosen physician before your procedure so that he may advise you properly.

Here are some of the circumstances and conditions that should make someone re-evaluate the risks posed vis-à-vis the expected benefits of undergoing Botox treatments:

  • Pre-existing neuromuscular condition such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or the Lou Gehrig disease), Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis and spinal muscular atrophy;
  • Allergic reaction to any of the components of Botox
  • Adverse reaction to a previous treatment involving the Botulinum Toxin
  • Muscle weakness especially in the area where you plan to be treated
  • Any surgery on the location to be treated, whether in the past or planned for a future date
  • Breathing problems such as asthma or emphysema
  • Pregnancy and/or lactation

We’re planning to expound on how these conditions increase the risks associated with undergoing a Botox treatment and why the FDA has considered these factors as contraindications to the usage of the drug.

We want you to feel comfortable with the procedure before you even sit on the doctor’s chair and we know that addressing your concerns about safety is the first step towards this direction. So, we’re trying to discover the common questions that Botox patients ask and try to provide all the answers in one handy resource.

This Guide is starting to turn out to be a nifty source for real information about Botox!  Stay tuned for more updates…

Here’s an update to The Insider’s Guide that we are creating.

We just decided to include a discussion of issues that should be considered as Botox no-no’s.  A common denominator among these types of issues is the desire to avoid paying the high cost of Botox treatments.  Sadly, money, or a feeling of lack thereof, can really drive people to make unwise decisions.  We’re hoping that this Guide will protect women from unscrupulous individuals and, maybe, even from themselves, by giving them the information needed to make smart choices.

Here are a couple of issues that we might tackle in The Guide.

Do-It-Yourself Botox treatments

A lot of controversy was stirred by the arrest of Laurie D’Alleva. Suddenly, the issue of Do-It-Yourself Botox treatments was shoved into the spotlight.  I know that there are individuals out there who believe that Laurie was doing the common person a great service by giving them access to cheaper cosmetic medicine.  But, please be wary of distributors, online or otherwise, who allow you to purchase prescription medicine, such as Botox, without a prescription.  The FDA has regulated these drugs for several reasons – most important of which is your safety.  A lot of people seem to overlook the matter of health just to be able to save some money but, as some of the victims of Discount MedSpa admit, reversing the effects of their DIY treatments are causing a much bigger dent on their bank accounts.

Fake Botox

Most of the bad press associated with Botox actually pertain to instances where Fake Botox was used irresponsibly.  You may have heard of the Houston physician who was sentenced to prison for using industrial strength Botox on her patients.  The drug she used was labeled “FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY, NOT FOR HUMAN USE” and yet she still injected some 170 of her patients with it.  Botox, despite being derived from a neurotoxin, is really a safe drug – but this comes with several precautions such as using only the FDA approved version produced by Allergan and proper administration by experienced medical practitioners.  When a person chooses to cut corners and find cheaper alternatives without regard to possible repercussions, you just know that things are bound to get ugly – and with Botox in the equation, ugly might just be right on the money.

I know that deciding to undergo any medical procedure requires giving your physician a little bit of faith but that doesn’t mean that you have to go through the process blindfolded.

The inclusion of a section that discusses these issues in The Guide is made with the hope that we will be making more women think twice about latching on to super-saver deals like these.  We’ll also give you some tips on avoiding Botox pitfalls such as how to choose your physician, what to ask during your consultation and even how to check if the Botox that will be used is the real deal.

I hope this is getting to be as exciting for you as it is for us!

Botox, like every other word, has an etymology that can tell you so much about what the word denotes.

Most people overlook the fact that Botox is the brand name that Allergan gave the drug it manufactures for the treatment of wrinkles.  This commercial name is actually a contraction of the words Botulinum Toxin from which the drug is derived.

BOTOX = BOtulinum TOXin

Let us now deal with the 2 main words involved:

  1. Bot·u·li·num* (n): a spore-forming bacterium that secretes Botulinum Toxin. [From the German word “Botulismus“; coined from the Latin term “Botulus” which means sausage.  The word ‘sausage’ is a depiction of the shape of Clostridium Botulinum, the bacteria that produces the toxin]
  2. Tox·in* (n): a poisonous substance… usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues… [From the Latin term “Toxicum” which means poison]

Bacterium.  Poison.

The two main words associated with Botox involve things that people usually stay far away from.  No wonder most women’s primary concern is the safety of using Botox!

The Insider’s Guide that we are currently creating will include a section that will delve into the safety issues commonly associated with Botox treatments such as:

  • Is it safe?  If so, how?
  • Important things you need to know to do Botox safely
  • How things can go wrong in a Botox treatment and how to avoid them
  • Possible side effects and measures you can take to prevent them from occurring
  • Botox pitfalls that you should avoid at all costs

We’re hoping that tackling this issue head on will give you the answers to common questions you may have regarding the safety of using Botox.  The ultimate goal is to give you eveything you will need to make smart choices every step of the way.

*definition from merriam-webster online

What exactly does Botox do?

One of our goals for this Guide is to give you an accurate description of how Botox works.  Of course before you can decide that a Botox treatment will work for you, you have to know how the drug works.

A simple google search on the topic will give you the impression that the research is easy enough – and it actually is.  Well, at least until you come across a site that says something different.  Then you question which of the two possibilities is correct.

Here’s what most of the sites say: Botox blocks the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is the muscle’s signal to contract.  Even the pictures available online all illustrate this cause and effect scenario.  The common visual interpretation depicts Botox as encircling little spheres in the nerve ending that contain the acetylcholine.  By virtue of such encircling, Botox prevents the release of the neurotransmitter and the muscle does not receive its signal to contract.  No muscle contractions mean reduction in wrinkles.  This explanation puts forward the theory that what is affected is the function in the nerve ending.

Now, here is what the dissenting website had to say: the function of Botox is to prevent the receptors on the side of the muscle from recognizing the acetylcholine – which means that the neurotransmitter is still released but the muscle receptors cannot recognize the signal.  In this explanation, the organ affected by Botox is the muscle.

To a non-scientist, the second theory actually makes sense following this logic: Botox is injected into the muscle therefore, the organ affected is the muscle.

However, when one realizes that the Botulinum Toxin, from which Botox is derived, is a neurotoxin, you realize that it can and will have an effect on the functions of neurons so it is plausible that they affect the nerve that is responsible for making the muscles move even if the drug is injected in the latter.

Ah, the confusion.

It doesn’t help that Medline Plus, a website by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, says that Botox treatments work by weakening or paralyzing certain muscles OR by blocking certain nerves.  This technically gives both of the theories leg to stand on.  This now leads me to 3 hypotheses: (1) both of these theories are actually correct and are not mutually exclusive in describing the effects of botox, (2) if only one of them is correct, even these government agencies are unsure which of the two is correct or (3) none of these theories is correct and there is a third explanation out there just waiting to be discovered.

On that note, let the research resume…

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