BYLINE: Carolyn Susman, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
DATE: June 25, 2002
PUBLICATION: Palm Bea
ch Post, The (FL)
Let's be clear about this. I am not afraid of needles.
Reporters almost never run a story based on one source because you may not get a complete or accurate picture. Recently, I received a press release from a doctor who said he was board-certified in both plastic surgery and diseases of the eye. The press statement said the doctor had seen patients who, after years of stretching their eyelids to put in and take out contact lenses, had relaxed the eyelid muscle.
I might close my eyes when I'm getting an injection, but I didn't run screaming from the room when Anushka, of the salon that bears her name, invited me to experience BOTOX® Cosmetic first hand. I protested at first, because this is an expensive procedure, and I wasn't mentally prepared to be a participant.
Or physically, either.
Dr. Fredric Barr, a West Palm Beach plastic surgeon who is president of the Palm Beach County Plastic Surgery Society, says people undergoing BOTOX® Cosmetic should prepare the same way they would for surgery. Stopping supplements or pills such as aspirin, Motrin, Advil, Vioxx, vitamin E, quinine or fish oil two weeks before the procedure can affect bleeding or bruising.
But Anushka was right. Experience can be the best teacher when writing about a subject. Remember Hunter Thompson and gonzo journalism?
Anyway, before I could refuse, Dr. Abdala Kalil swabbed my face with a numbing cream, and we waited a few minutes for it to kick in. That's really the longest part of the BOTOX® Cosmetic procedure.
When he called me in, I climbed onto a table and, with his assistant nearby, Kalil loaded a syringe with BOTOX® Cosmetic. Produced by Allergan, a vial of BOTOX® Cosmetic costs about $400 and must be used within a few hours of its opening or the substance, which is diluted, degrades.
Kalil instructed me the same way he had his other patients: smile, relax, smile, relax. As I smiled, he injected the BOTOX® Cosmetic.
First confession: It hurt. Not unbearably. But even with the numbing cream, I could feel a sharp pinch.
The whole procedure took only a few minutes. I came away, however, with something none of the other patients had. A bruise.
Kalil realized right away that one of the injections had gone wrong, and he put a piece of ice on my cheek. But there was no erasing it.
Bruising is a possible side effect.
Anushka says having thin skin, not enough vitamin C or careening hormones can increase the chances of bruising.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, an organization of plastic surgeons, advises that "most complications are of short duration and can be avoided with proper injection techniques."
But the eye is an area with lots of blood vessels, and Dr. Leslie Baumann, a BOTOX® Cosmetic researcher at the University of Miami, says it's a difficult area to inject. Even with an experienced doctor, she said, at least 10 percent of people bruise around the eye.
Like any bruise, it was tender to the touch for a day or two afterward and, yes, it was noticeable. The next day, three friends asked who hit me. They were joking, of course, but it drew their attention, and that's not something you would want if you were a BOTOX® Cosmetic regular.
One of the women at the Anushka party had told me she had used BOTOX® Cosmetic right before her wedding. You wouldn't want bruises on your wedding day, either.
Other than that, I had no problems.
It took at least a week for the BOTOX® Cosmetic to reduce the crow's feet at the corner of my eyes, the site of the injections.
And, second confession, I did not notice much of a difference, although friends said they did. I will admit, however, that BOTOX® Cosmetic had a noticeable effect on some of the women I met, particularly on the area between the eyes.
So, no. I probably would not spend $500 to get another BOTOX® Cosmetic treatment.
But there are many, many women and men who would.
Copyright (c) 2002 Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.