A lot of patients in our San Diego office ask us how they can tell whether or not you can tell if a doctor is diluting their Botox. The answer is – you can’t really tell based on looking at the syringe. Nor can you tell my how many syringes the doctor has given you. The only way to determine if you are getting the right amount of Botox is to confirm the number of Botox units you are getting (and paying for!).
The Truth About Botox
Botox cosmetic is made and distributed by Allergan – and this is the only legal way for a doctor’s office in San Diego to get Botox cosmetic for injection. Have some offices tried to get Botox from Canada or other countries? Absolutely. But this is illegal and you should stay away from any plastic surgeon or dermatologist who is offering Botox injections from any source other than Allergan.
When Allergan delivers Botox to our office – and every other office here in San Diego – it comes in a small little bottle that contains 100 units of Botox. What is a unit of Botox? It is the standard measure that Allergan established many years ago when it comes to measuring the clinical potency of Botox injections. Think of a unit of Botox as being like a one dollar bill – it is a method of currency in the world of Botox. The bottom line is that every bottle of Botox has 100 units inside of it.
Diluting & Reconstituting Botox
Botox doesn’t come from Allergan premixed as a liquid solution. Botox comes as a frozen powder from Allergan. In order for it to be made into a solution that can be injected in the face, Botox has to be reconstituted. The term reconstituted means that a liquid is added to the bottle of Botox to create an actual solution that can be injected into the face.
The recommendation from the manufacturer of Botox is that doctors’ offices should add in 4 cc’s of liquid into the 100 unit bottle. This translates into a dilution of 25 units of Botox in 1 cc of solution. The syringes used to inject Botox are 1 cc – so one full syringe would have 25 units of Botox in it. This is pretty standard.
If the doctor happens to ‘dilute’ their Botox, that simply means they are adding in more than 4 cc’s of liquid during the reconstitution of the Botox. Let’s say they dilute their Botox by using 10 cc’s of liquid to reconstitute it. That translates into 100 units of Botox in 10 cc of solution – which gives you only 10 units of Botox in 1 cc now. Compare this to 25 units of Botox in 1 cc in the example above. If that particular cosmetic doctor is charging you per syringe, you will obviously being paying more compared to the first cosmetic doctor. That is because you are now only getting 10 units of botox when you could be getting 25 units – assuming they are both charging the same amount for a syringe of Botox.
Fortunately, most places don’t charge per syringe of Botox. But some San Diego clinics will charge per area of Botox injection, which is just as bad (or wrong) in our opinion. That is because you still don’t know how much actual Botox you got for that one area. They may pull out one syringe – which looks just like a syringe that might be properly diluted with Botox – and use that for the 1 or 2 areas. But as a patient, you should know exactly how much Botox you just got – and are paying for! Why wouldn’t they tell you how many units of Botox you are getting? The answer is because they can get away with giving you less units of Botox by charging by the area!
The only true (and honest) way for patients to know how much Botox they are getting is based on the number of units of Botox. If someone is charging you by the syringe of Botox or by the area(s) injected with Botox, there is much more of a chance you are getting cheated on the price. Let us show you how and why.
Charging by Units of Botox
Let’s say we charge $12 per unit of Botox and you are getting 20 units for treatment of forehead wrinkles. That equates to $240 for the Botox treatment ($12 x 20 units). Dr. Hilinski pulls out one syringe, which was diluted the proper way for Botox and contains the 25 units it should. Dr. Hilinski does the Botox treatment and you are utterly happy with the outcome!
Charging by Syringes of Botox
Let’s say a doctor is charging you by the number of syringes of Botox. And he/she is offering a special on Botox at $200 per syringe. You may think that is a deal on Botox since you can get one ‘whole syringe’ of Botox for $40 cheaper than Dr. Hilinski was just offering. So you go in there and get a Botox injection to your forehead. What you don’t realize is that this office diluted their Botox as explained above. One syringe of their Botox contains only 10 units! Even though it looks like Dr. Hilinski’s one syringe – it is not the same. You just paid $200 for what you thought was a normal amount of Botox, but you only got 10 units – and paid $20 per unit of Botox! Plus you aren’t going to get the same cosmetic result in terms of wrinkle reduction because you got less than half the recommended number of units of Botox.
Charging by Area of Botox
Let’s say a doctor is charging you by the area(s) of Botox treated. You can fall victim to the same problem – you just don’t know how many units of Botox you are getting. If the doctor charges you, for example, $200 for the forehead area – they may give you just 10 units of Botox. So you end up paying $20 per unit of Botox and are also getting a suboptimal Botox treatment.
The bottom line is that the only consistent factor between Botox offices in San Diego (or anywhere) is the number of units you are getting. One unit of Botox in one office is the same as it is in any other office. And 25 units of Botox is the same as it is in any other office. But one syringe of Botox is not. And one area of Botox means something different in each office. So make sure when you go to get Botox injected into your face in San Diego you pay for it only based on the number of units of Botox you got.
San Diego’s Best Botox
Dr. Hilinski has always charged by the number of units of Botox. This is partially why he has so many patients in and around San Diego that are constantly coming back to the office for Botox treatment – because he is consistently providing them with the desired Botox result they desire and they always know what they are getting and paying for when it comes to Botox treatment.