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Millicent Odunze, M.D.

Paying for BOTOX - Should I Pay Per Area or Per Unit?"

By March 13, 2011

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Last week, a new patient consulted me for a BOTOX injection. She'd had BOTOX injections twice before. The first time, her results lasted six months. The second time, she went to a new doctor who was significantly less expensive. Her results lasted two months. Needless to say, she was a bit exasperated. I asked her how many units of BOTOX she'd received and she didn't know. She did know that she paid "per area" not "per unit." My diagnosis: A severe case of getting what she paid for.

What is the difference is between paying "per unit" versus paying "per area?" The amount of BOTOX injected into an area is measured in "units." When you pay per unit, the total price will vary with the number of units injected. The more units you receive, the more you pay. The less units you receive, then the less you pay. When you pay per area (examples of an area are the forehead, around the eyes, or between the eyebrows), the price remains stable, regardless of the number of units of BOTOX injected into the area. So, which way is better?

If you already know you need more BOTOX than is usual to smooth your lines, paying per area is a great. You pay one lump sum and however much BOTOX it takes, it takes. On the other hand, if you don't need as much BOTOX as the next person to get a lasting effect, you're paying the same, but getting less. Doesn't seem fair, does it?

If you go to a practice where you pay per unit, you'll know how many units you're getting for the price. BOTOX functions according to the number of units that are injected. When you pay per unit, doctors are more likely to inject the amount needed to get a lasting effect. When you pay per area, some doctors may economize the BOTOX for better profit. If this occurs, the results will not be as long-lasting.

So, if the price per area is on the less expensive side, sure, you may save a buck or two in the short term. But if you're getting BOTOX injections five to six times a year as opposed to just two times yearly, you've just undone your bargain. Not to mention the increased discomfort of getting injected six times per year versus just twice.

To get the most bang for your buck when it comes to BOTOX, whether you pay per area or per unit, you need to know how many units you're receiving in each treated area. With this information, you can monitor the amount of BOTOX it takes for you to get a more lasting effect. Additionally, you'll know exactly how much you are paying per unit and can more accurately assess the value of your BOTOX treatments.

March 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm
(1) Billy Gee says:

Question – How many units is too much? How many units do you recommend per area? Great advice but and great post but I’d like to how many units would be ideal for corresponding areas. Thanks a bunch!

March 22, 2011 at 2:51 am
(2) plasticsurgery says:

Hi, Billy Gee!

On-label glabella treament = 20 units. Men or individuals with stronger corrugators may need more, up to 35 units.

Forehead usually around 18 units.

Crow’s feet usually around 12 units (per side).

Hope this was helpful.

March 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm
(3) Billy Gee says:

Thanks doc!

April 15, 2011 at 7:46 am
(4) avril says:

When I did my botox Toronto treatment I paid per area, it was the best choice, because you never know how many shots do you need, it’s a risk to pay more or less….

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