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BEWARE! Dangers of quick face fix

From the GLOBE, December 29, 2008

How to avoid Priscilla’s anti-aging woe

PLASTIC surgeons have pledged to help the government crack down on rogue practitioners who perform botched procedures.

Many people, like actress Priscilla Presley, have learned the hard way that the price of vanity can be ugly. The 63-year-old was left with a deformed face after unqualified plastic surgeon Daniel Serrano injected her with a substance he claimed was “much better than Botox.”

But his “miracle anti-wrinkle serum” was actually an industrial grade silicone similar to a product used to lubricate auto parts!

Fans of Elvis’ ex were shocked when they saw what had happened to the face of the much-loved screen beauty. One cruel critic said she resembled “a bulldog bitten by wasps.”

Priscilla’s plight isn’t unusual. Some people will try almost anything to look younger.

The Food and Drug Administration recently received 930 reports of serious side effects from facial filler procedures.

Complications include facial palsy, disfigurement and severe allergic reactions.

Among the dermal fillers under investigation are Juvéderm, Restylane, Perlane and Radiesse.

Noted Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon Dr. Toby Mayer tells GLOBE that in most cases it is not the product that is the problem, but the way it is administered.

“These products have been tested for safety and the companies themselves have never had an adverse reaction like the ones being reported to the FDA,” he says.

Done right, the benefits of a professional treatment can last from four months or up to a year, depending on the product and how much is injected. “The most reaction I’ve seen in the 30 years I’ve been doing injectable fillers is redness and swelling, and these are reactions well noted on the product labeling,” says Dr. Mayer.

The average price of a treatment to plump fine lines, lips and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, is about $500. “If you see someone offering Juvéderm injections for $50, and it sounds too good to be true, most likely it is,” he warns. You should also make sure that the person giving the injections is licensed and operating legally.

“I’ve seen Botox injections offered at private parties or in hair salons,” he says. “You should never mix martinis and makeovers.”

Jonah Shacknai, chief executive of Medicis that makes Restylane and Perlane, stresses: “Fillers should enhance your appearance, not change it. It’s a simple, painless procedure that must be done by a qualified person.”