Experts have found a myriad of ways to improve our lives with neurotoxins outside of aesthetics. From migraine relief to relaxing grinding jaws, botulinum toxin has racked up many uses, both on and off-label. A recent trend involves injecting neurotoxins, like Botox or Dysport, into the trapezius muscles or “traps,” the largest muscle of the lower neck and upper back, for a cosmetic or medicinal effect. The muscle “helps move the neck back and forth, turn the neck and stabilize it. When you add Botox to the top visible portion of this muscle, we call it trap tox,” explains New York plastic surgeon Brad Gandolfi, MD.
The benefits of trap Botox
There are a handful of ways trap Botox might come in handy, one being pain relief. “Some patients will experience tension in the trapezius muscle manifested as hypercontraction of that muscle. This often results in neck and shoulder discomfort,” says Fort Myers, FL, plastic surgeon Ralph R. Garramone, MD. Toxin injections in the neck can be employed “to reduce the contractility of the trapezius muscle by its neuromodulator effects just like with the muscle of facial expression.” It can help release tension the patient feels, says Dr. Gandolfi. The relaxation of this muscle can also help with headaches and postural movement.
Botox in the trapezius can also be cosmetically beneficial. Nashville, TN plastic surgeon Daniel A. Hatef, MD says he often performs the treatment on “female patients who think that their shoulders look too masculine.” The treatment works by weakening the upper part of the muscle causing it to shrink and elongate the neck, explains Dr. Gandolfi. This has recently been dubbed Barbie Botox as the results are the sleek look of a doll-like neck.
The trap Botox treatment trend
There’s been a perceptible uptick in people discussing and getting trap Botox lately. Dr. Hatef says it’s a relatively new use in the aesthetic world, which is why it’s currently trending. However, it is not new to experts. “Doctors have been using it for spasms, torticollis and headaches for over 25 years,” he says.
Dr. Garramone says trends tend to come and go as an office or provider posts something about a unique treatment. “The treatment does not have to be new, it may just be new to the provider, but it appeals to people who like it, and it starts to trend,” he says. Dr. Gandolfi notes that, as with many trends, TikTok is involved. Additionally, “As the warm weather approaches and tops are getting smaller, people are focusing more on this area of the body,” says Dr. Gandolfi.
Before and after Trapezius Botox treatment
Alternative treatment options for a patient looking for longer-lasting results
To address discomfort or tension, “heat, massage, stretching and exercise along with methods of stress reduction may help” a patient, says Dr. Garramone. When it comes to the aesthetic benefits, Dr. Hatef says, “If a patient has an excessive amount of fat in their neck and upper back, then liposuction is an option for contouring this area. However, the vast majority of patients who are unhappy with their shoulder and lower neck contour have muscular hypertrophy, and some form of botulinum toxin is the answer.”