BOTOX

Botox

Botox Cosmetic involves a nonsurgical, in-office treatment. It requires minimal preparation. Botox Cosmetic is an injectable wrinkle muscle relaxer. It uses botulinum toxin type A, specifically OnabotulinumtoxinA, to temporarily paralyze muscle. This reduces the appearance of facial wrinkles.

What are BOTOX injections?

BOTOX is the brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In large amounts, this toxin can cause a form of muscle paralysis known as botulism, which is usually associated with food poisoning. Even though one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis, scientists have discovered a way to use it to human advantage. Small, diluted (weakened) amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles, causing controlled relaxation of the muscles.

The FDA approved such usage in the late 1980s when it was discovered that BOTOX could stop ailments such as blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking) and strabismus (lazy eye). Cosmetic physicians have been using BOTOX for years to successfully treat wrinkles and facial creases. BOTOX is approved for treatment of frown lines on the forehead, crow’s feet (lines around the eye), and axillary hyperhidrosis (increased sweating of the armpits). Within the past few years, new products that have similar preparations have been introduced into the U.S. market and have been well-received by patients.

We will refer to the toxin as BOTOX from here on out, but please know that this includes all of the formulations:

  • BOTOX: OnabotulinumtoxinA
  • Dysport: AbobotulinumtoxinA
  • Xeomin: IncobotulinumtoxinA

How does BOTOX work?

BOTOX blocks the signal from the nerve to the muscles. The injected muscle can no longer contract (tighten) as forcefully, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften.

BOTOX can be used on the forehead lines, frown lines, crow’s feet, bunny lines (lines in the nose), chin (for dimpling), skin bands on the neck, and around the mouth (for smoker’s lines and down-turned corners of the mouth). Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity often will not respond to BOTOX. It is important to re-emphasize that BOTOX is NOT a facial filler (that is, it does not fill existing wrinkles) – it merely relaxes the muscles that are creating those wrinkles.

Overview

Botox injections are noted primarily for the ability to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles. They’re also used to treat conditions such as neck spasms (cervical dystonia), excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), an overactive bladder and lazy eye. Botox injections may also help prevent chronic migraines.

Botox injections use a toxin called onobotulinumtoxinA to temporarily prevent a muscle from moving. This toxin is produced by the microbe that causes botulism, a type of food poisoning.

Botox was the first drug to use botulinum toxin. Other products now include abobotulinumtoxinA (Dysport), rimabotulinumtoxinB (Myobloc) and incobotulinumtoxinA (Xeomin). Each is a little different, particularly when it comes to dosage units, so they aren’t interchangeable.

Why it’s done?

Botox injections block certain chemical signals from nerves, mostly signals that cause muscles to contract. The most common use of these injections is to temporarily relax the facial muscles that cause wrinkles in the forehead and around the eyes. Botox injections are also used to treat conditions that affect how the body functions. Examples include:

Cervical dystonia: In this painful condition, your neck muscles contract involuntarily causing your head to twist or turn into an uncomfortable position.

Lazy eye: The most common cause of lazy eye is an imbalance in the muscles responsible for positioning the eye.

Muscle contractures: Some neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, can cause your limbs to pull in toward your center. In some cases, these contracted muscles can be relaxed with Botox injections.

Hyperhidrosis: In this condition, excessive sweating occurs even when the temperature isn’t hot and you’re not exerting yourself.

Chronic migraine: If you experience migraines more than 15 days a month, Botox injections may help reduce headache frequency.

Bladder dysfunction: Botox injections can also help reduce urinary incontinence caused by an overactive bladder.

Eye twitching: Botox injections may help relieve contracture or twitching of muscles around the eye.

Risks

Botox injections are relatively safe when performed by an experienced doctor. Possible side effects and complications include:

  • Pain, swelling or bruising at the injection site
  • Headache or flu-like symptoms
  • Droopy eyelid or cockeyed eyebrows
  • Crooked smile or drooling
  • Eye dryness or excessive tearing

Although very unlikely, it’s possible for the toxin in the injection to spread in your body. Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these effects hours to weeks after receiving Botox:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing
  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of bladder control

Although very unlikely, it’s possible for the toxin in the injection to spread in your body. Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these effects hours to weeks after receiving Botox:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing
  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of bladder control

Doctors generally recommend against using Botox when you’re pregnant or breast feeding. And Botox should not be used in people who are allergic to cow’s milk protein.

Select your doctor carefully

Botox must be used only under a doctor’s care. It’s important that injections be placed precisely in order to avoid side effects. Botox therapy can be dangerous if it’s administered incorrectly. Ask for a referral from your primary care doctor or look for a doctor who specializes in your condition and who has experience in administering Botox treatments. A skilled and properly certified doctor can advise you on the procedure and help determine if it best suits your needs and health.

To learn more about the BOTOX please click here.