"Barbie Botox": Is it Really Reasonable to Get Injections in the Neck to Achieve Doll-Like Posture?
Victoria Hidoussi - Madame Figaro
Also known as "Traptox," this practice of injecting botulinum toxin into the trapezius muscle has gone viral on social media. A plastic surgeon shares their perspective on this trick that influencers are praising.
Following the "baby Botox," a new concept with an intriguing name has captured everyone's attention online: "Barbie Botox." Accumulating more than 10 million views on TikTok, this method has become a sensation on the platform ever since Kim Kardashian revealed her use of it in an episode of the American reality TV show "The Kardashians," suggesting that half of her neck was "probably botoxed." Indeed, this aesthetic medicine technique, involving the injection of the product into the trapezius, is said to allow the forty-year-old to sport a refined neck and slim, graceful shoulders. Thousands of followers on the social network, mainly Anglo-Saxon women, confirm these results.
The release of Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie, which coincided with this trend, gave it its name, referring to the proud posture of the famous Mattel doll. Inspired internet users also call it "Traptox" (a combination of "trapeze" and "Botox"), another keyword that has garnered over 24 million views on TikTok. Behind these enticing names, the idea of injecting botulinum toxin into this area is not as glamorous as it may seem.
Originally, a therapeutic method
Indeed, it didn't take Kim Kardashian's endorsement or the success of the Barbie movie for this method to emerge. The practice of injecting Botox into the trapezius muscle is far from new, but its original use has nothing to do with the pursuit of an elegant posture. Dr. Jonathan Fernandez, a plastic surgeon in Nice and a member of the French Society of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgeons (Sofcep), explains, "This technique has been known and used for a long time in the field of reconstructive surgery, especially on patients suffering from conditions such as chronic migraines or chronic muscular disorders in the upper back." The doctor emphasizes that this procedure is primarily prescribed for therapeutic purposes, to "relax certain muscles that develop in a pathological or abnormal manner."
What interests people who do not suffer from these conditions but still wish to undergo these injections? The visual effect that follows. "As the trapezius muscle becomes less contracted, it decreases in size and thus allows for a longer, more regal neck and less developed shoulders," adds the expert.
An unauthorized practice
However, despite the widespread accessibility and apparent commonality of videos on this topic on social media, a problem arises: "Today, according to the French Health Authority (HAS), injecting botulinum toxin into the trapezius for aesthetic purposes is not recommended. There is no marketing authorization for this indication," Dr. Fernandez emphasizes, reminding us that "the use of botulinum toxin is highly regulated in France. In the field of aesthetics, it can only be injected into three areas of the face: the forehead, the glabella (the famous 'frown lines'), and the 'crow's feet.'" In the United States, even though the injection of this substance in this part of the body is permitted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the institution has also not approved its use to reduce neck and shoulder size. "There is not enough scientific research on this subject for aesthetic purposes and not enough data to ensure its safety and efficacy," adds Dr. Fernandez.
This is an opportunity for the specialist to call on internet users to be even more vigilant about the practices of surgery and aesthetic medicine promoted on social media. "Beware of trends. Today, more and more influencers are being summoned to court for spreading false information or promoting 'fake injectors,'" warns Dr. Fernandez. He urges people to trust the expertise of healthcare professionals rather than content creators outside the medical field. "We don't experiment with these procedures as if we were trying out a new cooking recipe. We don't inject substances into the lips just because an influencer suggests it's effective for making them fuller. We are not just injectors but scientists." He concludes, "Even if these practices are glamorized and wrapped in glitter, it remains a matter of medicine."
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