Last week, millions watched Kerry Campbell inject her eight year old daughter’s face with Botox® to get rid of the “wrinkles” the young girl self-reported in preparation for several children’s beauty pageants. The San Francisco mom, a part time esthetician (who never claimed or denied whether she was licensed or not) defended her actions stating, “I’ve been doing Botox® for a long time, and I get it from a trusted source behind a doctor.”
Regardless of the mom’s “source”, I felt conflicted about even acknowledging the story as there are multiple levels of concern here. I feel sorry for Ms. Campbell and her little girl because there will certainly be long-term challenges as a result of Kerry Campbell’s wrong decision. However, as a father and someone who has stood by the Hippocratic Oath that I took nearly twenty years ago promising to do no harm, I believe it is imperative to use this story as a testament to the importance of plastic surgery patient education.
It’s very important for facial rejuvenation patients to understand who is and is not legally permitted to administer Botox®. In the state of Georgia, only board certified doctors of medicine, physician assistants, registered nurses, or nurse practitioners under the direction of a physician are permitted to treat patients with the product. The reasons for these limitations are in the patients’ best interest. Botox® is composed of a purified form of the neurotoxin botulinum. When injected by a qualified professional, the treatment is effective in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles between and around the eyes by relaxing the wrinkle-causing muscles for four to six months.
Given the effect Botox® has on muscles into which it’s injected, it can also produce undesirable side effects like drooping eyelids and even temporary facial paralysis if done incorrectly. This story is especially concerning because the “patient” is so young, and her body is not finished growing. There are rare cases in which Botox® may be appropriate to pediatric patients (i.e.- the treatment of chronic muscle spasms symptomatic of certain neuromuscular disorders), but this type of treatment should only be performed by a neurologist or a similarly qualified board certified specialist.
Because Botox® is only legally available for purchase by M.D.’s, consumers should be very wary of non-doctor affiliated Botox® providers. I encourage all Atlanta facial rejuvenation patients to ask questions of their providers before any cosmetic skin treatment or facial plastic surgery. If their prospective provider can’t produce the appropriate documentation or information to prove their legitimacy, seek treatment elsewhere.
To learn more about the ideal candidates for Botox® Cosmetic and other wrinkle treatments visit my website and continue to read my blog. For updates on breaking plastic surgery news connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.