How common is it for doctors to sell Botox in cc's instead of units? How much does Botox cost per cc of Botox vs. per unit of Botox?
Botox Cost - CC's Vs. Units?
Doctor Answers 35
Botox: Price per unit, not cc, vial or area
It makes no sense to price Botox "per area". Pricing "per area" means one of two things - either (1) a physician is injecting the same number of units of Botox into a given treatment area in every patient, say the forehead, whether the patient is a young woman with few lines and wrinkles or a mature gentleman with a large forehead and significant wrinkles; or 2) the doctor injects a varying number of units into the treatment area depending on the needs of patient, but charges everyone the same amount for that area. In this latter scenario, the gentleman with deep lines on the forehead might be getting more Botox and a much better deal than the young woman with early signs of aging.
Botox can make a big difference for most people, but getting the best results depends upon finding an experienced injector who uses freshly reconstituted Botox, and who varies the amount of Botox that is administered according to each patient's individual needs.
Botox pricing by cc is uncommon
It's not very common for practitioners to offer Botox by volume. Most offer by site (frown, forehead, crow's feet lines) or unit. Botox comes packaged in a vial contaning 100 units of dry powder. This is then mixed by the provider with sterile saline resulting in a concentration measured as units/0.1cc. Most make the ultimate concentration to be 4 units/0.1cc and most will treat the frown lines, for example with around 24 units (0.6cc).
Hope that helps.
CC does not tell you anything about the units.
You are correct, people sell Botox by cc, which is a measure of volume, or by unit, which is a measure of total Botox. Additionally, they may sell it by areas, which tells you nothing about the volume or the total Botox. It is best to always know how many units you are receiving. This way, the next time you have a Botox treatment, you will know if you need more or less in specific areas. Most careful injectors keep tract of how many units they inject in each area and mark this in their chart. If they are unable to tell you how many units they are injecting, then they probably do not know what they are doing.
I hope this is helpful.
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Most docs I know charge either by the unit or by the area treated
I feel that the fair way to charge is by the unit because it is the amount of Botox protein that you are actually paying for. That being said, the typical going rate for Botox in my area of the country is 12-16 dollar per unit.
If your injector is charging you per cc, he or she may still be charging you a reasonable rate, but the per volume unit of measurement is not very meaningful, since a single cc of Botox can range from less than 1 to greater than 100 units.
Units tell you more
Botox is packaged as a dry powder. The physician adds saline fluid to prepare for the treatment. The amount of saline added determines the concentration of Botox (how many units are in each cc). There are various reasons why a physician may chose one concentration or another. However, the real issue is how many units of Botox you received.
Some physicians always use the same concentration so they may discuss cost in terms of cc's.
You should also remember that Botox is a treatment not just a product. When considering the cost of treatment you should also factor in the skill and experience of the physician performing the treatment.
Cost of Botox
Many doctors charge by the "area", i.e. glabella or crow's feet. Fees vary from $300 to $600 per area.
Others charge by the unit. Fees vary from $9 a unit to $25 a unit.
There are 100 units to a bottle of Botox. Usually that translates to 4 or 5 cc in the bottle(depending on how much a doctor adds).
Doctors who have established practices and specialty training (plastic surgeons or dermatologists) and great experience are generally more expensive than doctors without specific training (non-cosmetic specialty doctors) who are novices.
Botox is much like paint to an artist. The cost of the paint is not as important as the painting itself. You are paying for the art with Botox, not the chemical.
Most sell Botox by the syringe but will tell you the units if you ask
I would estimate that most surgeons mix Botox either 20 or 25 units per syringe, so just ask them which they do. Most physicians base their pricing on the units. In my practice, we give a discount to patients who purchase several Botox treatments in advance (so called "Botox banking").
Botox is measured by units, not cc's
Botox is sold as a freeze dried film stuck to the bottom of a bottle. Mostly it is sold in a bottle with 100 units of Botox in that film. Obviously, a dry film can not be injected into a patient so it must be mixed with saline solution. The doctor chooses how much saline to use. I like 2 cc's which means there are 50 units in one cc. Other doctors may choose different amounts. If your doctor likes 4 cc's then you would be getting twice as much Botox from me if we both sold by the cc. Obviously, this is not an accurate way to do things!
In short, units, not cc's.
CC's are irrelevant
Botox is packaged as a 100 unit vial of freeze dried material, which has essentially no volume (cc's). We, the physicians, then add any volume (cc's) of saline solution (salt water) that we choose to add. This gives us a number of units per cc.
In general, there is a range of units required to treat an area of the face. The number of cc's used to treat an area will therefore depend on the amount of saline that was used to reconstitute the freeze dried product in order to inject the required amount of units to treat the area.
For example, if your area being treated requires on average 20 units and the product is reconstituted with 2 cc's of saline then 0.4 cc of solution needs to be injected. If the same product is reconstituted with 4cc's of saline then 0.8 cc of solution needs to be injected. Charging by the cc and using a high dilution may be a way of increasing the price.
I suggest calling around and getting prices from a number of different practitioners.
Happy New Year!
Great question Di,
Typically Botox is charged by either the unit or by the area treated. In either case you should make sure you know how many units you're getting as that may be the only reliable way to compare price.
Pricing by the cc (cubic centimeter) does not make as much sense as Botox must be diluted and more of the diluting saline will lower the concentration. (You may get more cc's but fewer units).
Always ask to see how many units you received. In my San Francisco based practice we administer Botox by the area but always tell patients how many units they have received. In addition make sure you go to a board certified plastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon or dermatologist!
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.