As a woman, I’ve found it hard to escape the nonstop marketing machine trying to tell me I need to rush out and get some kind of solution injected into my face to smooth away wrinkles.
You know what I mean. The ads are absolutely everywhere, and ads that are thinly disguised as feature stories are embedded in the women's magazines that carry the ads. They try to give the impression that a simple, painless injection will make you beautiful, and that you are less of a person if you don't do this.
A few years back I needed to locate an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for a jaw injury. This is specialist who is usually initially trained in dentistry, and then has additional training in order to treat the entire craniomaxillofacial complex: the anatomical area of the mouth, jaws, face, skull and associated structures.
My health plan had a wide range of other specialties listed in this category, including gynecologists and dermatologists, which made no sense. It turned out that physicians who gave cosmetic facial injections had been included in this category, giving the impression they had the special training needed by someone dealing with complex facial issues even when they didn't.
A recent article written by a physician who was a pioneer in the use of Botox® has provided insight. Dr. Arnold Klein, Professor of Medicine and Dermatology at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, started working with facial injectables in 1971, when he developed the injection technique for bovine collagen. He developed lip enhancement in 1984, and even created Goldie Hawn's extreme lips for the movie "The First Wives' Club." When Botox® came along, Dr. Klein was the physician who developed the dilution and injection sites used for Botox's® FDA approval for cosmetic purposes, and he became a major proponent of the drug's usage.
According to Dr. Klein, in his blog for the Huffington Post, “minimally invasive aesthetics is one of the few remaining areas in the medical field where money can be made. As the rules go, once money is involved, it gives birth to greed. After greed comes dishonesty. What these forces created in medicine is a tale worse than anything that Steven King might have dreamt up.”
Dr. Klein states that, “For medically trained individuals to properly utilize injectable agents such as Botox® and Restylane®, they must understand both where to inject the drugs, as well as understand the behavior of the drugs once injected.” He says the public is not given accurate information about the true risks associated with these procedures, and that portraying this process as a simple “in and out” injection is misleading. Says Klein, “Training in this field is not a weekend course given by the manufacturer, but occurs over time as one becomes more familiar with the behavior of these agents. The pharmaceutical companies...compound the problem by marketing to physicians in every field to increase sales.”
Dr. Klein has a lot of concerns and makes some serious charges. His primary warning is that profit has replaced patient safety, and consumers are not getting accurate information about these products and may be getting them from a physician who doesn't have the proper training for the injection, let alone any possible complications.
The decision on whether or not to use a facial injectable is a personal one. Anyone considering this, however, needs to understand that injecting any substance into one’s face isn’t something to be taken lightly. If something goes wrong, the consequences can range from discomfort to facial disfigurement to even death. Now that's not pretty at all.
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