Fashion isn’t the only space Barbie has been influential in this year. TrapTox, a new non-invasive injectable procedure influenced by the iconic Mattel doll’s slim, elongated neck, is now taking the beauty world by storm, too. The buzzy treatment, also known as “Barbie Botox,” involves injecting the trapezius muscle—the area extending over the back of the neck and shoulders—and is said to not only deliver aesthetic benefits but also provide pain relief.
Ahead, we tapped double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Shafer of NYC’s Shafer Clinic, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Levine, and Jeannine Nahabedian, PA-C MPAS at ALCHEMY 43 about everything you need to know about TrapTox, including the benefits, potential risks, side effects, and costs.
What is TrapTox?
TrapTox uses a neuromodulator like Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport that’s injected into the upper part of the trapezius muscles, the area along the posterior neck and headed toward the shoulder, in grid-like pattern. “The neurotoxin blocks the signal from the nerves to the muscle,” Nahabedian further explains. “So if you try to flex the muscle, the signal is blocked and as a result, the muscle doesn’t flex. Over time, the muscle atrophies, which means it gets smaller and therefore slimmer.”
While TrapTox has become the injection du jour as of late, the cosmetic procedure has been around for years. According to Dr. Levine, it’s been most popular in Asia, but Nahabedian says she’s been treating this area for around 5 years. Only now, “it has become much more popular recently due to TikTok/other social media exposure.”
“I said the other day, ‘Why didn’t we think of this before?’ adds Dr. Shafer. “Especially after doing the injections on myself and experiencing the positive effects I am sold. It’s one of the most popular treatments we offer right now. We have seen increased search traffic for the treatment on our website and engagement on our socials. It’s something everyone is talking about and asking for.”
What are the benefits of TrapTox?
TrapTox offers two major benefits, the first of which is easing tension. “The trapezius muscle holds tension in the neck and shoulders, so by weakening it, it can relieve pain and discomfort in the area,” says Dr. Levine. As a result, says Dr. Shafer, “posture is improved as the shoulders lower and move more posterior.”
While TrapTox soothes aches and pains, it also provides aesthetic benefits by lowering the shoulders and shrinking the neck to provide a slim, feminine look like Barbie. “It makes the muscle less bulky so it creates an elongated appearance to the neck,” adds Dr. Levine. “It makes the area look more delicate.”
How long does it take to see results?
According to Nahabedian, it takes up to two weeks to start feeling TrapTox results, while the shrinking can take a little over a month. “The treatment lasts between 3 to 9 months, depending on how many times you have done the treatment,” says Nahabedian, noting that “if you’ve done it regularly, your level of activity and metabolism also affect the duration of the benefits.”
Dr. Shafer recommends getting the injections performed every 4 months for maintenance.
Is TrapTox painful?
Sure, needles are scary, but all three experts say TrapTox isn’t painful. “Anyone who has had Botox before knows it’s no big deal—and the skin along the trapezius area is less sensitive to the face,” says Dr. Shafer. “That said, many patients report an acupuncture effect with tension relief immediately after the injections and then sustained effect as the Botox starts to work days later.”
What can a patient expect on the day of the appointment?
Good news: TrapTox is a quick and easy treatment. Nahabedian recommends wearing a tank or tube top the day of the appointment since it “can make it extra easy to take pictures and do your treatment.”
Dr. Levine also advises patients to avoid alcohol before and immediately after the injection. “Bruising is not common,” she adds, “but patients more prone to bruising should avoid aspirin, Advil, Motrin, etc.”
Keep in mind there will be some mild soreness at the injection site but that goes away relatively quickly.
Are there risks to TrapTox?
Dr. Shafer, Dr. Levine, and Nahabedian are unanimous: Traptox is a low risk procedure. The biggest side effects are bruising and redness at the injection sites.
How much does TrapTox cost?
The cost of TrapTox varies depending on the provider. “Botox is typically priced per unit and Traptox requires what seems like a ‘higher than the typical’ amount of product due to the size of the muscles,” says Nahabedian. “In most cases I’ve seen costs around $1,800 per treatment.”
Dr. Levine also notes injections may depend on the amount needed and geographic area, and could cost between $1,000 to $1,500.
At the Shafer Clinic, the treatment costs $30 per unit, which is $3000 per treatment. “The patient is not just paying for the units, but our experience and patient experience,” says Dr. Shafer. “We also use genuine Botox Cosmetic which we prepare in front of the patient so they know they are getting fully concentrated and fresh Botox.”