When it comes to plastic surgery and non-surgical injections such as Botox or Juvederm, the law isn’t necessarily on your side. That’s because almost any doctor can legally offer certain services, such as injectables, at his or her practice, regardless of the amount of actual training he or she has in administering those injections.
If you’re considering Juvederm, Botox, or any other injection, the person you see for the injection might not seem to matter. After all, you can visit a pharmacist for a flu shot or other vaccination, which is another type of injection, and for the most part, things turn out fine. But, injectables such as Botox or fillers are a completely different story from vaccine injections. You want to use the same level of care and consideration when picking your injector as you would when choosing a surgeon to perform any type of plastic surgery.
You might be wondering, what could possibly go wrong when it comes to choosing an untrained or unqualified injector? The answer is a lot. The face contains many muscles, and if you see a doctor or other injector who isn’t very familiar with the anatomy of the face for a Dysport or similar injection, there’s the risk that the injector won’t know which muscles to inject into or even the appropriate amount of the substance to use for the injection, leading to overdone or underdone results, or increasing your risk for side effects.
While doctors are able to order the actual injectable from the manufacturer, people aren’t licensed medical professionals have no legitimate way of obtaining the genuine substance. There have been cases of counterfeit versions of Botox or other injectables cropping up on the market and being injected into people by untrained, unlicensed injectors. While the effects of a counterfeit product can be minimal, there are cases when having someone inject who-knows-what into your face can be life threatening.
Another risk of seeing an unlicensed or untrained injector is that he or she may try to use silicone as a filler. While silicone is used as a material in certain implants, it’s not FDA approved for use as an injectable. There are a number of considerable risks or side effects when silicone is injected into the body, such as the development of bumps and scar tissue and the potential for disfigurement.
There are plenty of warning signs or red flags to look out for when choosing an injector for a filler or for a product such as Botox. One of the biggest red flags is that the person offering the injection isn’t any type of medical professional, whether a plastic surgeon or a nurse working under the supervision of a surgeon.
Even if the person is a medical professional, there are a few signs to look out for. You want to work with someone who is a board certified plastic surgeon or who is working under the supervision of a board certified plastic surgeon and who has adequate training with the injectable you’ve chosen. The injector should have a considerable amount of proof of experience, such as before and after photos of patients, and references or reviews from patients.
Where the injection is performed is also important. A red flag is if the injector wants to administer the injectable in a non-medical setting, such as at your house or in a hotel room. You always want to work with someone who is working out of a medical practice or hospital.
A bargain basement price is another thing to be on the lookout for. While an experienced, trained, and board certified surgeon might offer a small discount on injections, he or she won’t offer a price that is too good to be true. The price of injectables are set by the manufacturer. If the price seems way too low or considerably lower than what any other injector is offering, there’s a good chance the product isn’t the real deal.
Questions to Ask
There are a number of questions worth asking before you agree to work with an injector. Inquire about the person’s experience and training from the start. Once you’ve been assured that the injector has the background you want, ask about what you need to do after the injection to minimize side effects and whether the injector will see you again if you have any problems. If the injector doesn’t give any post-injection advice or refuses to follow-up with patients, that’s a sure sign that you should look elsewhere.
You can also ask about how to best choose the injectable that’s right for you. While not all qualified injectors offer every product out there today, most offer a variety of options, so that patients can pick the injectable that will provide the results they are after.
If you’re thinking about any type of injectable and are in the DC area, reach out to Dr. George Bitar and Dr. Robert Centeno at the Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute. Both are board certified, experienced plastic surgeons who offer a wide range of injectables. Whether you are considering Botox, Voluma, Radiesse, or another option, they are available to answer any questions and help you choose the best injection for you. Call (703) 206-0506 to schedule an appointment today.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.