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Traptox: the lowdown on the trending injectable technique

It's been getting millions of hits on TikTok, but what exactly is traptox and is it one to watch or simply a fad?

The world of aesthetic medicine sometimes throws up some interesting trends and treatments – think fox eyes and Russian lips for starters. Fast forward to late 2023, and the injectable technique hitting the headlines right now is traptox, which involves the use of anti-wrinkle botulinum toxin in an unconventional way.

And people are clearly curious as it’s already amassed over 2.3 million views on TikTok, while Kim Kardashian came under fire earlier in the year for allegedly photoshopping her shoulder in an Instagram post.

So what exactly is traptox? Otherwise known as 'Barbie Botox', it is an ‘off label’ technique where botulinum toxin is injected into the trapezius muscle to help alleviate muscle tightness, tension and pain and create the appearance of a slimmer, more elongated neck and shoulders in time say, for a big event.

As well as a swan-like neck, other benefits include soothing overactive muscles, an improvement in headaches and muscle spasms, and relieving muscle tension and pain caused by poor posture.

Results can be seen after 1-2 weeks; the effects of the toxin begin gradually wearing off after 12-24 weeks. As with all procedures there can be risks, so make sure you schedule in a consultation with a highly qualified practitioner.

Dr Noreen Hashmi, Cosmetic Doctor at sk:n clinics, gives us the lowdown on traptox treatments.

What is the trapezius muscle?

 "The trapezius muscle is a large, superficial muscle that stretches from the back of the skull along the spine to the lower thoracic vertebrae and extends laterally to the shoulder blade. It is responsible for many shoulder and neck movements, including lifting and stabilising the shoulders, as well as maintaining a proper posture.

How can muscle relaxing injections be used in this muscle?

"The use of muscle relaxing injections in the trapezius muscle aims to alleviate chronic pain, particularly in conditions like chronic neck pain, tension headaches, and myofascial pain syndrome. Muscle relaxing injections block the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for muscle contractions, at the neuromuscular junction. By doing so, it temporarily paralyses the trapezius muscle, subsequently reducing muscle tension and stiffness.

How are the injections administered?

 "The injections are typically administered directly into the trapezius muscle at predetermined trigger points that have been identified as causing pain. Several small injections are needed. Pain relief can generally be observed within a week post-injection and can last for approximately 3-6 months. By addressing the trapezius muscle's contribution to these conditions, botulinum toxin can offer long-lasting relief with minimal side effects, often improving patients' quality of life.

Are there any other uses for muscle relaxing injections in the trapezius muscle?

"Injections can also be used for the slimming or contouring of the trapezius muscle, resulting in a more aesthetically desired neck and shoulder profile. This procedure is particularly popular among individuals seeking a reduced trapezius muscle 'bulk' for a more refined appearance. When injected into specific points within the trapezius muscle, muscle relaxing injections cause temporary muscle atrophy (volume reduction) by inhibiting nerve cell communication. As the treated muscle undergoes reduced activity, it shrinks over time, leading to a slimmer profile. The effects of this treatment typically last for an average of 4-6 months, after which repetition becomes necessary to maintain results."

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