Scared of Botox For Forehead Lines- What Are The Risks?

Hi, I am 29 and I have horizontal forehead lines on my forehead that make me look older. I would love to have botox but im terrified of it. what are the chances of breathing probs or swallowing probs after having botox in the forehead?? If this were to happen when would it be apparent? would the risk be for the whole 4 months or so that botox works or for the first few day?? thanks

Doctor Answers 16

Botox is safe for forehead lines

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There are always some risks with every procedure, but Botox has been done for more than two decades with a very high safety profile.  Horizontal lines can be treated well in young individuals, but unfortunately, as one ages, the whole forehead and eyelids sag and botox injected to make the forehead smoother will relax those muscles and the eyebrows and eyeldis can sag more. Therefore, some people can only have a few, not all lines treated.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Botox in Forehead Is Safe

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Botox has been used since the 1990s to treat wrinkles, such as those that bother you in your forehead. While every procedure has some risks, the risk profile for Botox is very low – especially in the forehead, where only a few units are used at a time. The reports of shallow breathing and swallowing problems have been limited to Botox in the neck and are probably owing to over-injection. The main risk for Botox in the forehead is that an inexpert injector may cause the forehead to sag. This is why it is important to find someone with experience and expertise. I hope this helps

Botox for forehead lines

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Dear andrea3238: There is no risk whatsoever regarding breathing/swallowing problems with Botox injections in the forehead. The usual number of units is 6-12 units in this area. The only concern is drooping of the eyebrows, if the injections are done by an inexperienced injector.

The problems with swallowing/breathing occur when deep injections or  a large number of units are injected in the neck area

Always look for an experienced board-certified dermatologist/plastic surgeon/ophthalmologist to be assured about a good result with no complications.

Khaled El-Hoshy, MD
Detroit Dermatologic Surgeon

Serious Botox Risks

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I have used Botox for 15 years and have NEVER encountered serious Botox complications.

Although such complications as hoarseness, difficulty swallowing etc have been seen they are seen in 3 sets of patients:
- those requiring LARGE (over 100 units) doses of Botox (such as those with spastic disorders)
- those receiving large orders by using gray market "Botox" (a few years ago a Florida physician with an expired license injected several people including himself and his girlfriend with large doses of Botox and required being on a ventilator)
- people with Neuromuscular disorders (such as Eaton-Lambert, Myasthenia Gravis etc) whose muscles are overly senstive to Botox OR people taking certain medications which MAKE them more sensitive to Botox

Finally poor technique, most commonly by nurses / aestheticians / injectors even non- "core" doctors may result in poor results but less commonly in the complications you are worried about.

The treatment of forehead creases is straight forward in most people. But if you cannot shake your fear, it may just not be for you.

Peter A Aldea, MD
Memphis, TN

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Botox for The Forehead and Risks

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Botox is a wonderful treatment for the horizontal forehead lines.  There is virtually no risk of breathing or swallowing problems with injections in this area.  You may get a bruise, but that would be about it.  The risk of having a droopy eyelid/eyebrow is also rare if you go to an experienced injector.   An experienced injector is always the key to a successful treatment!

Sheri G. Feldman, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist

I want Botox for my forehead lines but is it safe?

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Botox is used for a variety of cosmetic and non-cosmetic purposes and has been safely used since the early 1990's. In 2002 the FDA approved it for use of frown lines. There have been many clinical trials and over 400 peer-reviewed articles in scientific and medical journals about it's use. Though rare, there can be serous side effects. Some people with certain medical conditions should not use Botox. Additionally, some individuals on certain medications should not have this procedure in case it leads to a drug interaction. It is important to disclose your full medical history and provide a list of medication to your doctor before he begins the procedure.

I can't stress enough the importance of seeking out an injector with skill and experience. I recommend limiting the search to board certified Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologists. Be wary of anyone who gives injections 'on the side'. You want an injector who has studied facial anatomy and will customize your injections to your face. An inexperienced injector may inject too much, or they may inject into the wrong muscles. Just a millimeter off can make a world of a difference. Some of these complications from Botox being administered incorrectly by untrained injectors can be very serious, even life threatening. Do you really want to put your safety into the hands of someone who has learned to do Botox during a weekend class? Just because the procedure is less invasive than surgery it does not mean it should be rushed into without proper research and thought.


Francis X. Fleming, MD
Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Botox in forehead

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BOTOX IN THE forehead is generally very safe. The most common side effects typically involve heaviness in the brows from injecting a bit too much in THE forehead. There is really no risk of breathing and swallowing problems when injectinhe small quantities typically used for aesthetics.

Ritu Saini, MD - Account Suspended
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

Botox for forehead lines

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Botox is a common and safe treatment for various areas of the face including forehead lines. Side effects from treating this area are uncommon, mostly a small bruise or headache in a small percentage of patients. Less commonly a "spock brow" or slight drooping of  the eyebrows can occur. All side effects are temporary, and rare in expert hands such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon


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Botox is very safe. Patients only get swallowing problems when extremely large doses are used which is  not common with facial treatment.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Botox Cosmetic complications are extremely rare

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Having Botox for forehead lines is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures.  It is perfectly safe as long as you have a properly trained physician or a nurse (under a physician's supervision) performing the injection.  Make sure you go to a reputable place using authentic Botox

The complications you described occur when massive doses of botox are used for patients with cerebral palsy.  They use thousands of units.  For a forehead you would get 10-20 units. 


Martin Jugenburg, MD, FRCSC (Toronto Cosmetic Surgery Institute)

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 518 reviews

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.