Dangerous trends: How plastic surgery is spilling into the living rooms of common people
Plastic surgery is no longer confined to the operation theatre and seems to be spilling into the living rooms of common people as a dangerous trend, which is fast catching on the world over. The recent case of 29-year-old UK based model, Rachael Knappier after she got injected with a botox injection at a house party by a beautician and her lips painfully swelled, is ringing alarm bells about over the counter (OTC) usage of the drug. While botox is increasingly being used as a beauty enhancer, it has its downsides and if left to an untrained medical professional, can spell disaster and even death.
Botox has been the perfect potion for restoring youth on faces for years now and successful administration of botox can change the entire appearance of your face. However, botox, the elixir of youth should only be used under expert guidance.
Botox is a protein with the scientific name of a lethal neurotoxin call botulinum, which is produced by bacteria clostridium botulinum found naturally in soil, lakes and forests. This bacterium is also found in the intestinal tracts of mammals and fish. There are many uses of botox in both aesthetic and medical procedures and is not actually a dermal filler. When injected, it blocks the nerve impulses that cause the muscles to contract that causes wrinkles and lines while dermal fillers add fullness to areas that have thinned due to aging.
In order for muscles to contract, nerves release a chemical messenger, which sends a message to muscle cells to contract or shorten. When injected, botox causes the reduction in muscle contraction and relaxes them. Therefore, botox works as a ‘shield’ between the brain and the muscle, causing the muscles to stay still. Botox has been in demand for a long time now and its common aesthetic uses include smoothening wrinkles, reducing fine lines on the face, treating drooping brows, changing the shape of the face and smoothening crow’s feet.
Botox is highly effective in its use if done in correct proportions. The challenge though with anything which gives good results is that people start to treat it lightly and not take adequate precautions for its use. Botox parties may soon become a trend in cosmopolitan cities in India. We need to remember that this is a procedure which needs to be treated with respect and the seriousness it deserves and only under expert supervision. Botox parties, such as the one which Rachael Knappier was in, should be strictly avoided even if the temptation is too much to resist.
Basically everything known to mankind is a poison when used indiscriminately and without logical reasoning. One paracetamol used for a headache is a drug offering immediate relief yet if you took 20 tablets in one go the same very drug could prove lethal and kill you. So, how you use something is most important in the results it gives you. In general, botox is an extremely safe drug which primarily blocks out the nerve signals by temporarily paralysing the face when injected in the facial muscles. When there is no movement in those areas, wrinkles may be softened, reduced or even removed. Not more than 50 units are needed for facial anti-aging treatments and to cause you any harm as much as 3000 units need to be injected. So, there is a large safety net of 60 plus times of the amount of botox being injected in you.
Botox is injected by injectors hence your injector needs to be trained and a specialist so that the chances of side effects with botox are almost zero. With a trained person, should there be any small alterations required, it is easy to perform. But, if your injector does not have the requisite qualification and experience, then obviously the botox is not to blame. It is absolutely imperative to undergo the treatment under an expert.
So, while all this is great, it’s important to remember that Botulinum toxin is one of the most poisonous substances known to man and if not administered and used carefully it can lead to grievous harm. If the injections are not given correctly, they can cause bruising, bleeding and swelling. Bad botox can cause the eyebrows to elevate so much that it can give you a permanent surprised look. While this is temporary, it can still cause you immense heartburn. A badly done botox job can cause drooping of the eyelid or brow if injected near the eye. It can also lead to weakness and paralysis of nearby muscles or cause hives, rashes or itching. Finally, your doctor should treat you such that you look natural. Fake, plastic looking people are not beautiful. In fact, the most beautiful people are those who do not look like they have had any treatments and therefore look naturally attractive.
While such accidents should not happen and they can even be life threatening if immediate action is not taken to reverse the effect of the injection, a few dos and don’ts are a must to avoid such incidents. Only go to a qualified plastic surgeon or dermatologist and do not be afraid to ask the doctor’s credentials and years of experience. Take feedback about the surgeon from other genuine patients. Do not be lured by the current ‘fad’ of botox and only take the botox injections on parts that are best suited for you. Let your doctor decide what is best for you as what worked for your friend may not work for you. Follow the post care instructions carefully and if you notice any burning, fever or an itching sensation at the site of the injection go to the doctor immediately.
Botox injections are not a matter of instant gratification and should not be taken lightly. An expert surgeon knows exactly which muscles need to be targeted for maximum effectiveness and will not just randomly inject the drug. The surgeon will know the correct method of injecting to maintain the aesthetics of the face and still remove the fine lines and wrinkles as well as preserve the natural look of the face. It is also absolutely essential to assess the medical history of the patient. Not all patients are eligible for botox injections, especially if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Botox is a highly safe and a sure shot non-surgical way to get the smooth age defying look for your face. All the myths and horrors associated with botox can easily be dispensed with and it should not be an inhibiting factor keeping you away from your dream looks. If you’ve made up your mind for the treatment, go for it and don’t let unfounded doubts play on your mind. In trained hands, it’s truly a ‘wonder medicine’.
Dr. Shome is a reputed celebrity Facial Plastic Surgeon and Director, The Esthetic Clinics, which has centres in Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata