Expert warns about side effects of ‘Barbie Botox’

Aesthetic Medicine
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Women are now increasingly asking for a procedure to create the illusion of smaller shoulders that elongate the neck – just like Barbie.

The Barbie movie took the world by storm, turning everything and everyone in its wake pink, even breaking records at the box office, grossing more than $370 million (about R6.5 billion).

Women have always envied Barbie for her looks, and since the release of the movie, Barbie fever has led to women requesting aesthetic treatments to look more like the famous doll.

But an aesthetic medicine specialist has warned about the dangerous side effects of a procedure called ‘Barbie Botox’ and ‘traptox’.

What is Barbie Botox?

The clinical term for ‘Barbie Botox’ is Trapezius Botox. The procedure targets the base of your neck, extending across your shoulders and down to the middle of the back.

Aesthetic medicine specialist and owner of Aesthetic Facial Enhancement, Dr Alek Nikolic said many patients have started getting the procedure to achieve the illusion of smaller shoulders that elongate the neck – mimicking the look of Barbie.

Before the Barbie craze, the procedure was used to treat severely overworked trapezius muscles, which could cause migraines and back tension. It was also used to treat ‘tech neck’ caused by the angle and prolonged times employees spend in front of laptop and computer screens.

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How does it work?

Dr Nikolic explained when botulinum toxin is injected into the trapezius muscle, it prevents them from becoming overworked by stopping connection to the nerve.

“The botulinum toxin relaxes the muscles which causes the shoulder area to slim down and results in the elongation of the neck.”

He warns the trapezius muscle is near vital respiratory and central nerve control centers and is one of the few places where botulinum toxin can have fatal results.

The dangers of ‘Barbie Botox’

Dr Nikolic said the negative effects of this procedure are not often spoken about and has advised anyone considering aesthetic treatments to do their research, consult with qualified medical doctors, and consider all aspects of the procedure including their desired results before going ahead.

Potential side effects of this procedure include:

  • Hypersensitivity reactions
  • Increased risk of clinically significant effects with pre-existing neuromuscular disorders
  • Difficulty in swallowing and breathing difficulties
  • Bronchitis and upper respiratory tract infections in patients treated for spasticity

How soon will you see results?

Dr Nikolic said ‘Barbie Botox’ is an expensive procedure as the trapezius muscles are large and would a require sizeable dose of botulinum toxin – about 100 units.

According to a Cape-Town based aesthetic clinic’s website, you would need 25-30U of botulinum toxin. Their price for 25U is R1550. The price for 100U is R5200.

Dr Nikolic said results of this procedure are typically seen four weeks after the injections and last for about three to four months depending on how many units are used and your metabolism.

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