The Barbie film, full of positive messages of self-acceptance, has barely been released in theaters and is already inspiring new aesthetic procedures that target the plastic doll’s unrealistic appearance. This is the case of BarbieBotox, the name given to the application of botulinum toxin to the trapezius muscle to reduce it and give the impression of a longer and thinner neck.
There are already millions of posts on social media under the hashtag “BarbieBotox”, whether from dermatologists and plastic surgeons explaining the procedure and showing off the practice on their patients or young women showing the effects of the injections with before and after views.
Influencer Gkay, 30, after saying last year that she would stop plastic surgery because she was satisfied with the results of the interventions, is one of the supporters.
“It’s the opposite of the gym,” says Rafael Pessanha, plastic surgeon who performed the procedure at GKay. “The idea of the toxin is to reduce it.”
It’s not imperceptible, but it’s far from having the impact of LAD liposuction, another procedure that has taken over social media with before and after records.
According to plastic surgeon Jardis Volpe, who has 1.6 million followers on Instagram, the procedure is popular among women — and he attributes the demand for a thin neck to the movie “Barbie”. He says that, despite being fashionable outside of Brazil, the trend has not yet reached offices here with much force and is usually sought after by younger people.
Barbie became a beauty standard to be followed since its arrival on the market in 1959. According to Ana Lúcia Castro, anthropologist and professor at Unesp (Paulista State University), she was the break from a cycle of infantilized and asexual dolls to a adult doll that little girls could be inspired by.
“Barbie is an icon of body worship culture that impacts female subjectivity,” she says. “It has measures that, when taken into reality, are humanly impossible.”
The head attached to a long, thin neck is one of those less-than-human characteristics. But the search continues.
In “Barbie Botox”, the impression of stretching is given because the use of the substance in the region atrophies the muscle, says surgeon Jardis Volpe. The toxin decreases or paralyzes muscle contraction by blocking acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter mechanism, at the junction between the tissue and nerve endings. This causes an effect of atrophy and “thinning”, with reduced volume.
Despite the cosmetic experiencing an explosion on the networks, Eliza Minami, from SBCP (Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery), says that the application of botulinum toxin to the shoulders is not new, but was used to treat diseases, such as myofascial pain, cervical dystonia ( spasms and contractions of the neck muscles) and migraine.
The use for treating migraines, for example, is widely accepted by neurologists. Since 2010, its use has been regulated by the FDA (medicine regulatory body in the United States), and since 2014 by Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency).
The visual effects, however, are millimetric, according to neurologist Vanessa Milanese. She says that in patients with a lot of muscle contraction, the change is noticed when feeling the region. The application, says the doctor, requires care, since the trapezius is a large muscle, which runs from the base of the head to the shoulders.
Furthermore, she states that the procedure depends on other factors, such as herniated discs and general assessment of the spine. Between 15 and 30 injections are given on each side. Pessanha states that the dose applied will depend on the strength of the muscles.
Minami says that the effects last 3 to 5 months, but believes that aesthetic use should be limited to cases of muscle hypertrophy. “It’s not a routine treatment in our clinical practice. It’s more common for therapeutic purposes,” she says.
The doctor points out that, if applied in very high doses, it can cause weakness in the muscles that support the neck, but says that specialized literature reports few side effects. All contraindications for botulinum toxin apply to this application: no use in pregnant or lactating women, nor allergy sufferers or those with neuromuscular diseases.
Volpe draws attention to the fact that the paralysis of some areas, such as the trapezius, can overload accessory muscles in the back.
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