Drive-Thru Botox? How Some Aesthetic Treatments Are Taking Place Outside the Office Post-COVID-19

It’s become a ubiquitous site during the coronavirus pandemic — the processions of vehicles stretched bumper-to-bumper; the PPE-clad figures, veritable carhops with clipboards, tending to their passengers. Three months in, we now recognize it instantly: drive-thru COVID-19 testing in progress.

If you live in Miami, however, there could be another reason for that packed parking lot: Botox.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Michael Salzhauer, aka “Dr. Miami” a board-certified plastic surgeon in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida, kicked off summer by introducing “Drive-Thru Botox, a first-of-its-kind service he’s offering to patients on Sunday afternoons when he’s not in the operating room performing breast augmentations and Brazilian butt lifts.

The idea took root after he was tested in similar curbside style for COVID-19 antibodies: “I saw hundreds of people getting their blood drawn without leaving their cars,” he tells Allure. “It was very safe, professional, systematic, and organized. The scheduling, medical history, consent forms, and billing were all done online. And I thought, This would be perfect for Botox.”

At Salzhauer’s drive-thru, paperwork, payment of $300 per area (forehead, glabellar lines, and/or crow’s feet), and pre-procedure photos are handled digitally before each scheduled 15-minute injectable appointment. Patients arrive wearing a mask and roll down their window to submit to a contact-free temperature scan, upper-face assessment, and additional “before” pictures. 

After they numb the skin with a disposable cold compress, Salzhauer (in full PPE and gloves) preps it with alcohol pads and injects brand-name Botox using a sterile syringe. He then has patients ice for 30 seconds, snaps “after” shots, and sends them off with follow-up instructions.

Since Dr. Miami began unabashedly promoting this to-go neurotoxin to his 1.4 million Instagram followers, his posts have been met with a mix of disbelief (“Are you serious?”) and delight (“This is amazing!”).

While he insists, “It’s very safe to administer Botox in [this] way, as long as the person doing the injecting is experienced and competent,” many of his colleagues vehemently disagree and have taken to social to speak out against what they see as a brash and unethical commodification of medicine.

“Drive-Thru Botox devalues and undermines every safety and care standard we strive to uphold in our sterile clinics,” board-certified Fort Lauderdale osteopathic dermatologist Shino Bay Aguilera wrote to his Instagram followers.

Janelle Vega, a board-certified dermatologist in nearby Coral Gables, echoed his sentiments in a post of her own: “Getting drive through #Botox or #fillers can be dangerous and undervalues the fact that you’re getting a medical procedure — not fast food.”

(For the record, Salzhauer is not offering fillers at his drive-thru clinic — although his fans are clamoring for it — because, as he says, fillers have a much greater risk of side effects, complications, and unfavorable results.)

Cosmetic doctors are reimagining the in-office procedure

Salzhauer isn’t the only one getting creative with post-lockdown treatments. In New York, board-certified plastic surgeon Darren Smith is offering house calls to injectable patients — a service he’s dubbed Aesthetic Visit by Darren M. Smith M.D. Currently, those in Westchester, Long Island, and New York City are eligible.

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