How Much is 20 Units?

From answers to other questions, I understand that females are usually given 20 units for the glabella. I am confused as to exactly how much 20 units is. When I have had Botox in the past, they usually take the Botox from a vial which appears to hold approximately 2 tablespoons of fluid and resembles the vials in which contact lenses once were packaged. Is this a 20 unit vial? If I pay for 20 units of Botox, should I expect to get the full contents of that vial?

Doctor Answers 16

A unit of botox is not a unit of measurement but a unit of efficacy

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

A unit of botox is not a unit of measurement but a unit of efficacy.   A vial of botox contains 100 units if diluted with 2.5 cc of saline that yields 4 units of botox per .1 cc.

You can do the math to see how may units your were given based on the dilution used.  

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

20 Units for Glabella

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

   20 units is less than a vial, so you will not get the whole vial.  The cheapest amount people charge for Botox is about 8 dollars a unit. 


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Each female, as with males, vary in the amount of units needed for the glabellar region. Everyone has different muscles strengths and requires a different amounts of units.  A vial contains a total of 100 units.  The Botox in the vial must be reconstituted before it is injected. Typical amounts of Botox Cosmetic for my patients in the glabellar region ranges from 15-30 units.

William P. Mack, MD, PA
Tampa Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

You might also like...

Botox units

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Every provider prices their Botox differently, and uses a "range" of units for treatment to different areas of the face. Consulting with a well-trained and experienced provider/practice in the area will help you understand. Generally, offices that provide high volume can give you a better unit cost.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

How much is 20 units - portion of a vial

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Botox can come in 100 and 200 unit vials in Canada. 20 units would be part of a vial, so the remainder of the vial would be used in other people; there are no safety or sterility concerns with that in real world usage. 20units is enough for the glabella in some cases in women mainly, while 30-36 units can give a better result for older people, those with strong muscles, or those who want no movement at all. Some people, especially men, require even higher doses in the glabella/frown lines. ~ Dr. Benjamin Barankin, Toronto Dermatology Centre.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Botox Units

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Botox typically comes in either 50 or 100 unit vials. You are correct that 20 units can work well for the glabella. The vial can be mixed with varying concentrations as the doctor adds saline to mix it, but 20 units would be either 2/5 of a 50 unit vial or 1/5 of a 100 unit vial.

Botox vials

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Botox comes in a muti-dose vial so an area such as the glabella will not require a full vial.  You would only be charged for the amount of Botox that you required.

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist

Most botox vials are 50 or 100 units

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It would be unusual for a woman to need a whole vial.  Twenty units on average can treat the "elevens" if not too deep. If you wish to add crow's feet or the forehead, twenty units will likely not be enough.

It is best to concentrate on the results first, price second, and leave the worry of the units up to your specialist.

Christopher J. Peers, MD
South Bend Facial Plastic Surgeon

Botox units

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Dear Louisesc809,

  • 20 units is enough to treat the frown lines between your eyebrows OR the crow's feet (not both)
  • The volume of liquid does not matter because some injectors like it more concentrated, some like it dilute, either way, you still get the same number of units
  • You should be paying for a result, not necessarily the number of units

Best regards,

Nima Shemirani

Nima Shemirani, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Botox volume and cost

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

You should expect to pay anywhere from 10 dollars per unit to 22 dollars per unit depending on who is injecting and which city - expect to pay more in Manhattan than in Idaho. For 20 units, it should cost 200-300 dollars. Don't worry about the volume because it deends on how the doctor mixes it and what the # of units are in each bottle - we can order 50 unit bottles, 100 unit bottles and 200 unit bottles that come in the same size vial !

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.