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On Botox, fillers, and ghosts

By DR. GRACE CAROLE BELTRAN, The Philippine STAR Published Jul 11, 2023 5:00 am

The first time I heard about the Philippine General Hospital’s (PGH) 1st Functional Anatomy Workshop for toxins and fillers, I was so thrilled—not only because it was the first of its kind conducted by a school that I truly valued, but also because it was the place where I first learned anatomy years back.

I was excited but also had doubts about whether to register again for cadaver dissection for the fifth time. My first was when I was enrolled in physiotherapy, second was in medical school, third in Rehabilitation Medicine, fourth in Singapore, and hopefully this will be the last.

I am not new to experiencing spirits trying to communicate with me. My first was in med school when I borrowed the brain of a cadaver for review before the night of our neuroanatomy exam. It was between 10 p.m. to 12 midnight when the three of us inside the room heard a crying lady. Just imagine our looks of astonishment upon hearing this loud cry. Then I asked two of my roommates where in particular they heard the cry, and they both told me, “It is on your side of the bed!” That was when I realized it must be the soul of the cadaver brain that I brought. I prayed the rosary for her then and it did not happen again.

Fillers and Botulinum Toxin (Botox) injections are top aesthetic procedures being done all over the world.

The second one was when I was an intern at PGH. I was sleeping in the doctor’s lounge when I heard a loud cry again, enough to wake me up. But when I looked around, I was all alone in the room. One of the interns told me that our room used to be a morgue. After that, I did not sleep in that room ever again.

Halloween might be a whopping five months away, but ghosts don’t adhere to a calendar when it comes to making themselves known to the living. Some might appear in mirrors or dreams, while others will create an air of dread around the location of their demise. Perhaps most commonly, spirits will make noises when they wish to reach out to the other side.

There are a few frequently cited sounds that users mention and posts on the paranormal and ghosts subreddits when describing their possible haunting. Some hear voices, disembodied footsteps, or, perhaps most chillingly, the sound of a woman sighing. Of course, any noise that’s out of the ordinary can be unsettling, but there’s something about these sounds in particular that leads people to believe that they are truly otherworldly.

Fortunately, I did not experience anything unusual in the Dualan Lab where our workshop was conducted.

Well, enough of ghost stories.

Botox and dermal fillers

Why are filler injections being done in salons? Do these facilities have doctors on board? I’m raising these questions because I recently had a patient who underwent a nasal thread lift with filler injection and the result was disastrous.

Experts in this field take several master classes on these procedures before doing them. So I was just wondering if salons have an accredited aesthetic doctor to do it for them?

Fillers and Botulinum Toxin (Botox) injections are top aesthetic procedures being done all over the world. Its indications revolve around rejuvenation, mostly of the face.

Instant results are usually a delight to most of our patients, as significant improvement is visible immediately after the procedure and they get home happy. That’s why these procedures are very much in demand.

Filler injections

Dermal fillers restore and beautify the skin. They work by replenishing lost hyaluronic acid while encouraging new acid to build.

Hyaluronic acid is a natural sugar substance that binds our skin tissues together while keeping them plump and hydrated. As we age, we gradually lose these hyaluronic acid stores, which leads to sagging and drooping skin across areas like the cheeks and jowls.

Fine lines and wrinkles also show more clearly as hyaluronic acid diminishes. Yet patients are able to bring back youthful skin that looks luminous, vibrant, and fresh using fillers. This is the main goal of our facial rejuvenation filler treatment.

Fillers enhance the nose (noselift) and are used for lifting sagging eyebrows, deep wrinkles around the nose and mouth (for lifting a drooping face), improving the lower eyelid and the deep lines below it, and rejuvenating lip areas.

It also smoothens the jaw and can widen it for males. Undulations on the lateral cheek areas can also be modified using fillers to give them a more rounded and youthful appearance. It also is being done to those with a retruded chin (walang baba). The chin can then be lengthened a little bit to adhere to the correct proportions of a perfect face. Fillers can also be used for rejuvenating aging hands.

Botox is also used for facial lifting, eyebrow lifting, and modifying the eyebrows to make one look not only rejuvenated but also calm, as opposed to having an angry or worried look.

It also gets rid of the fine lines over the forehead, crow’s feet, a gummy smile, lifts a drooping nose, modifies the alar flare that makes one’s nose wide, and creates a smaller, smoother, more feminine jaw for females.

For people with a protruded lateral jaw due to a very large masseter muscle, Botox injections are also given to make it smaller and give men a more chiseled face.

There are so many more things that can be done using these two procedures.

I would also like to thank the organizers of the First Functional Anatomy Workshop for Toxins and Fillers at PGH. It was truly an unforgettable way to learn one of the most difficult subjects in medicine for the fifth time around.