Urgent Warning Over Cheap Weight Loss Botox Procedure in Turkey

Health officials have issued an urgent warning about a cut-price Botox weight loss procedure being offered in Turkey. Sixty-seven patients from across Europe have been struck down with botulism after receiving the injections at two separate clinics. The condition, which can prove life-threatening, is caused by toxins produced by bacteria. It can lead to paralysis if not treated urgently.

All of the patients were given stomach or gastric Botox, which paralyzes muscles in the digestive system, making digestion slower to help them beat the bulge. Turkish clinics offer patients wanting to lose weight injections which are typically used to banish wrinkles, for as little as £850. Most of the cases with known data have been reported in Turkey itself (53), followed by Germany (12) with one more each in Austria and Switzerland. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which issued the alert, said what had exactly caused the botulism was unclear.

Botox and botulism both originate from toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria, and these toxins are highly dangerous. But it’s typically safe when used by a trained medical professional to paralyse muscles for a range of treatments. However, if the toxins are administered incorrectly, they can cause symptoms such as weakness, and difficulty in breathing and/or swallowing. This can lead to paralysis and even death if it’s severe and not treated, with up to one in ten cases of botulism being fatal. While most of the known cases have been mild, several patients have been admitted to hospital, according to European health authorities. 

Turkish authorities had tracked down most of the cases to two clinics, with 60 linked to a private hospital in the capital Istanbul. Three are linked to a private site in Izmir. They also found that while licensed Botox was used in the clinics, these products were not specifically approved for obesity treatment. They have since suspended all activities within the hospitals’ relevant departments and launched further investigations against those parties involved. 

Stomach or gastric Botox is touted by Turkish cosmetic and weight-loss clinics as a cheap and easier option for people to lose weight compared to full-on surgery. During the procedure, the endoscope — a long tube with a camera at the end — is inserted into the patient’s mouth to reach their stomach. Botox is then injected into the stomach wall by using an endoscopy tool that follows the camera.

Clinics say the procedure takes about 15 to 20 minutes and does not require general anaesthesia. The resulting paralysis of the stomach muscles makes digestion of food slower, making the person feel fuller, and in theory, helping them lose weight. However, like other Botox procedures, it isn’t permanent, and the stomach muscles return to normal within about four to six months, meaning people can start to gain weight again.


Daily Mail
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