NewsTeam 10 Investigates


La Jolla surgeon warns about possible dangers of so-called Botox parties

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-25 13:01:06-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Locals looking for a new look for the new year are being warned about the possible dangers of so-called Botox parties.

“I went to a Botox party with one of my girlfriends and they definitely overdid it,” says 28-year-old Morgan Zembruski. She could barely move her forehead for months after she says she got injected with Botox at a party.

She adds, “They put around 40 units in my forehead and pretty much froze my forehead, solid.”

“I've had many friends that've been invited to the Botox parties,” says Dr. Anne Wallace at UC San Diego. She is a board-certified plastic surgeon who says there's a big risk with getting cosmetic procedures done outside of a clinical setting. Providers may not be qualified and they could be pushing Botox or cosmetic fillers into your face that may be fake or diluted.

California nurse practitioner and injection expert Julie Bass Kaplan tells 10News she’s done corrective treatments for multiple patients who’ve gotten botched injections at so-called Botox parties. She provided photos.

Dr. Wallace adds, “If somebody is poking something into you or cutting into you, they should have a certain level of medical training.”

Allergan is the pharmaceutical company that makes Botox. On its website, users can see photos that show how effective results can be when the drug is administered correctly. A spokesperson for Allergan sent 10News the following statement.

“Allergan prioritizes the health and safety of patients. For patients interested in receiving BOTOX® Cosmetic treatments, we stress the importance of seeing a licensed and trained professional, and visiting Botox Cosmetic to find an authorized healthcare provider in their area.”

The Medical Board of California does not track complaints from Botox parties. The Board reports that Botox can be done anywhere, as long as it’s done by "a physician or by a registered nurse or physician assistant under a physician's supervision”.

No one who's unlicensed may inject Botox.

The Board says before any medical treatments, consumers are encouraged to check up on their physician’s license at online here or via the Board’s License Alert Mobile App. Complaints regarding physicians can be filed online via the Board’s website here.

If someone who is unqualified is injecting you, the results could be harmful.

“[One] of the most serious [issues is] if it's injected really deeply in the breathing muscle and the throat closes down and you can't breathe,” adds Dr. Wallace.

Dr. Bonnie Gasquet-Johnson works at the Wellness Jar medical spa and adds that cheaper isn't always better. “I don't recommend ‘fly by the night’ hotel Botox parties or, like, ‘Hey, everyone come over for this networking.’ We have no idea who this is. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” she says.