LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Are you contemplating cosmetic surgery, but phobic about a surgeon’s scalpel? Try a jab of Botox instead to give those sagging breast a lift as it’s not just for smoothing facial wrinkles anymore.
Worried about sweaty armpits at a big event? Botox them.
Earlobes drooping or tired feet from wearing stiletto heels to look sexy? Some doctors now recommend dermal fillers to plump sore feet or sad-looking earlobes.
Americans are increasingly turning to treatments like Botox and dermal fillers as alternatives to cosmetic surgery, with doctors reporting a rising demand for injectable treatments that a few years ago seemed unimaginable.
“We are able to do things for people now that we couldn’t even dream of 5 or 10 years ago,” said Dr Kevin Smith, a cosmetic surgeon in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Botox is a product name for Botulinum toxin, which is a neurotoxin protein considered poisonous in high doses. But when the right amount is injected into foreheads or near the eyes, it smoothes out wrinkles.
As a result, Botox has been commonly used as an alternative to plastic surgery, and 17 years after it was first approved for use in the United States to treat two eye muscle disorders, Botox is so widespread the word is now used as a verb.
New uses are cropping up, and one of the more controversial is the so-called “Botox boob job,” where Botox is injected into the pectoral muscles, forcing the shoulders back and improving both general posture and raising the breast.
“When it is asked for, people are very pleased with it. Some people never want scalpel procedures and you can actually get a significant lift with something like that,” said New York cosmetic dermatologist Dr Patricia Wexler, who has been offering the procedure for about two years.
NOT JUST FOR CELEBS
Wexler, who is one of the early Botox innovators, said it is not just celebrities who ask for the treatment, which costs around $1,700-$2,000 for both breasts, and like all Botox lasts for only a few months.
“Some people want it for a special occasion when they are wearing a strapless gown and no bra is acceptable,” said Wexler, who also uses Botox to rejuvenate the cleavage.
Botox is not FDA-approved for many of these so-called “off-label” uses, but its maker Allergan Inc. says doctors are free to prescribe it with the consent of their patients.
Smith has performed several Botox breast procedures but does not believe the technique is ready for widespread commercial use. Clinical trials are on the horizon and Smith he thought the best results would be achieved by combining pectoral injections with exercises to strengthen muscles in the back and chest.
“There is a lot of interest and it wouldn’t surprise me if there is something to it,” Smith said. “But you’re going to have to work at it. It’s not going to be cheap or easy.”
But if you’re doing all those exercises and finding yourself perspiring excessively, well, just get a little shot in your underarm area.
Botox was approved for excessive sweating in the United States in 2004, leading to a boom in underarm injections particularly in Hollywood and also among brides-to-be.
“There are whole clinics popping up just giving Botox for sweating. It’s often used by celebrities who are going to a red carpet event and they know the lights are going to be hot,” said Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon Dr. Anthony Griffin.
UPSIDE DOWN FROWN
Griffin also uses Botox to reverse a downturned smile, saying it can change an expression in a matter of minutes.
“All of a sudden you look happy!” he said.
In the past six months, sagging earlobes have joined breasts and armpits as a new area for injectable lifts, according to New York cosmetic surgeon Dr Jennifer Levine.
She said people who spend a lot of time on the phone or wear heavy earrings often find their piercing getting pulled.
“A thin saggy earlobe makes your whole face look older,” Levine said. But a quick injection with a filler like Restylane plumps the ear providing “immediate gratification”, she said.
Dermal fillers also are being injected into aging hands to fill in areas where skin has grown thinner.
Injectable implants into the ball of the foot, combined with ultra sound therapy, are used to ease the pain of wearing high stiletto heels, especially for older women, in a procedure sometimes described as “pillows for your feet.”
And after all that primping, pumping and botoxing, one could probably use a good pillow.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte
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