A Patient’s Guide to Injectable Botox

Consumer Confusion about Cosmetic Botox Prices

Good cosmetic results are dependent upon quantity, placement, client expectations. Patients may confuse Botox dilution with low pricing and subsequent poor results.

It often seems everyone, man, or woman, wants to look as young and beautiful as the models advertising the products they might buy. Botox does not make one beautiful, but it can make one smoother. Smoothness equates to youth; this is Botox’s cosmetic appeal.

Botox, botulism toxin A, is a neurotoxin produced by a bacterium that has the effect of relaxing wrinkles. Manufactured by Allergan, the toxin arrives in a small bottle on dry ice. Consumer misinformation and rumour about the cost of the product begins here.

The criticism among providers and patients is if one provider charges significantly less than another, they must “dilute” the Botox.

Additionally, patients believe if the Botox is diluted, it does not work as well, and the smooth appearance either will not take effect or will not last as long.

The mixing of the solution has become a point of contention for patients and practitioners alike, according to cosmetician Sheridan France. Once they have set their mind to receiving Botox, this often becomes the primary question patients ask regarding the product they are about to receive.

Is the Botox Diluted?

Yes, all Botox must be diluted before injecting. It arrives in a bottle of 100 units of pure freeze-dried material. A sterile saline solution is added to make the product liquid. Typically, 1ml (1/5 tsp.) might be added, sometimes 2.5 ml (that is how some learned to mix it years ago), and sometimes 4ml or 5 ml are added. The quantity remains unchanged, regardless of fluid added. One hundred units of product are 1 ml of Botox solution when mixed with 1 ml. 10 Botox units are .1ml solution. Similarly, 100 units are 2.5ml when you use 2.5 ml of solution. The math continues with the amounts of Botox used.

Determining What to Charge

Assuming Botox is the Allergan product with the hologram on the bottle and purchased through the company in the country where it is used, the price per bottle varies only slightly to the physician provider. The client charge may be based on what the provider paid, how many patients are seen, and other factors. It is common to charge by the number of units used, although some offices charge by the area injected (e.g., brow/crow’s feet).

New providers may charge less to attract patients and gain experience. Plastic surgeons and dermatologists may feel they need to charge more because they are specialists. The product is the same. The result should also be.

Could Botox be Over-Diluted?

Yes, this will weaken the solution. Drawing up slightly more solution may be practitioner error as opposed to greed. Thus, after using 1 ml of what should be 100 units of Botox, there remain a few more units. Could this be done often? Not if the office remains successful. Since if it does not “work,” the patient returns and complains, and then it is redone– possibly without charge. It is not worth an unhappy client. Botox does not bring a lot of money into the practice compared to major cosmetic procedures. It is, though, often a lot of money for the patients. Now that is something to frown about.