The Botox Boob Job?
Read this before you give it a shot.
We already know that Botox is the one of the most popular ways to keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay, but now the latest beauty buzz involves using Botox for an entirely different cosmetic effect: a temporary breast lift.
Here’s how it works: Three or four shots of Botox are injected into the pectoralis minor muscle, which is located directly underneath the large chest muscle (what guys usually call “pecs”). This thin, small muscle plays a role in keeping your shoulders down and forward. As it does in other procedures, Botox works by weakening and relaxing the targeted muscle. “[The] theory is if you prevent that muscle from doing its job, the opposing muscle on the upper back – the rhomboid – will pull the shoulder back, giving the patient a breast lift,” explains Karol A. Gutowski, M.D., chief of the division of plastic surgery at the NorthShore University HealthSystem and a clinical associate professor at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in Evanston, Illinois.
But, Dr. Gutowski cautions, injecting the pectoralis minor isn’t all that easy. “The muscle is very difficult to see because it’s under this big pectoralis major muscle,” he explains. “It’s pure luck if you can get it. It’s also hard to believe that if you block one relatively weak muscle that other muscles won’t play their roles [of keeping the shoulder down]. Our body tends to compensate for weaknesses.”
If the injections are successful, Dr. Gutowski says, they might give a temporary, minimal breast lift (Botox tends to last for three to four months), which may be similar to simply having good posture. (It’s not going to increase your breast size.) Experts say that the treatment, which costs about $1,000 per side, is better for women with an A or B cup.
What are the potential risks? That’s not yet clear. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved Botox for this use, although it is legal for physicians to administer it. But Dr. Gutowski, who is also a spokesperson for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, doesn’t seem worried about the possible hazards of a Botox breast lift. “I don’t think it’s dangerous,” he says, “except to your pocketbook.”
Rachel Grumman is a health and beauty writer who lives in New York City.