“Barbie Botox” isn’t new; just popular now

By: Dr. Lawrence Iteld


It’s all-over social media — Barbie Botox, the latest and “greatest” beauty trend. But it’s not new. Traditionally, known as Traptox by the medical community, it’s a procedure that involves injecting Botox or another neuromodulator between the neck and shoulder to help relax the trapezius muscles.

  • Medically, it relieves tension in the overworked trapezius muscles, which may cause migraines, as well as intense neck tension.
  • Aesthetically, it helps create a slimmer neckline and a smoother silhouette. That’s why people are comparing the results to a Barbie doll.
Barbie Botox: Neuromodulators injected into the trapezius muscles, the muscles in your upper back and neck, relaxing the muscles, and creating a longer, leaner neckline.

The idea is to limit the contractions of the muscles with Botox, leading to mild atrophic paralysis of the muscle. Unlike facial neuromodulator injections that start to take effect within a day or two, when injected into large muscles such as the trapezius, patients often find tension relief takes longer to go into effect.

Let’s talk traps

The trapezius, commonly called “traps,” are the two large triangle-shaped muscles situated between the back of your neck and upper back, across your shoulders, and down to your mid-spine. These muscles are key in maintaining the balance between your neck and shoulders, and are in frequent motion during your daily routines. If you work out these areas a lot or do certain sports, you may have a tendency to occasionally overexert them and create discomfort for yourself. That’s where Botox comes into play, offering a solution that transforms these overworked trapezius muscles from rigid to supple.

How it works

Injecting Botox into the traps leads to muscle weakening and some mild paralysis. It creates a longer, leaner neckline, allowing your shoulders to appear more sculpted and defined. The upshot is giving you an almost doll-like appearance. Typically, we inject Botox into both the left and right trapezius muscles. Keep in mind that, similar to other neuromodulator treatments, the effects are not permanent. You’ll need a touchup after a few months to maintain your results.

Pros and cons of Barbie Botox

Just as any other treatment, there are great benefits and not so positive ones.


Medically, getting Botox injected into the trapezius muscles can decrease spasms, relieve tension, and provide you with pain relief. And, if you have migraines that trigger from the back of your neck, it can reduce (or even eliminate) your headaches for months. Aesthetically, it can alter the appearance of your neck and shoulders, giving you an elongated and thinner neck, i.e., the Barbie effect.


To achieve the slimming effect, you will need 40 – 50 units, possibly more. This is a large muscle and needs more medicine compared to the small muscles of the upper face around the eyes and eyebrows. You’ll probably also need multiple treatments to achieve your desired look. Following each treatment, you may have soreness, weakness, bruising, and possibly difficulty raising your shoulder. This needs to be viewed as a medical procedure and should be treated as such. It is not advisable to have Traptox done in a spa environment. Instead, only have a board-certified surgeon, doctor, or a certified aesthetic injector WITH proper training provide this treatment. If administered incorrectly, the neuromodulator could paralyze your muscle completely, affecting your ability to hold your head up properly. It’s always important to have realistic expectations. As our aesthetic nurse Kimmy Vu, RN, says, “it’s a balance between form and function.” Looking great is important to our patients, but don’t overdo it, and make sure it fits your body and your lifestyle. Today’s trend may not be right for you.

Let’s explore your options

Not every social media craze is attainable or even desirable. We’re here to discuss Traptox or any other surgical, minimally invasive, or nonsurgical treatment that’s of interest to you. Please contact our experienced patient coordinators at [email protected] or call click here to schedule your confidential consultation. _____ Lawrence Iteld, MD, is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the Illinois Society of Plastic Surgery. A highly regarded Chicago based plastic surgeon, Dr. Iteld has received awards from Chicago Magazine’s Top Docs, and Castle Connolly Top Doctors®, and is a Key Opinion Leader with Allergan Aesthetics.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.