BOTOX- News and Facts

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Wrinkles, crinkles, furrows and frowns. Add some crow’s feet, and you have the prime candidates for treatment with botulinum toxin. The name still causes people to stop and think. Yes, it is a purified version of a neuromuscular toxin, which began as a bacteria, and is now used in medicine in very small amounts, in a long and growing list of ways.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES IT DO?
When injected into a muscle, it interrupts a signal from a nerve to that muscle. The muscle is weakened, and for a period of time, cannot contract. The goal, and this is what my patients have come to expect, is to create a smoother, unwrinkled appearance that allows expression and movement – not a frozen, unnatural look.
Here’s what else we’ve learned from our many patients. Sure, everyone wants a little bit of an ‘edge’ in our competitive world, and appearance counts. But people aren’t chasing youth so much as trying to get rid of expressions they feel do not represent them. Lines and sagging often produce a tired, sad, or angry look that patients don’t want to project to the world. What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re investigating possible cosmetic benefits, let’s take a closer look.
Botox is probably the most well-known name associated with botulinum toxin treatment. It is a ‘brand’ name. Other brands include Dysport, and Xeomin. There are some differences in the products, but all address similar issues.
The Botox, or another brand, is injected directly into the treatment area, right into the muscle responsible for the “line” that’s appearing on your face. That’s why patients should expect multiple small injections during their visit to the doctor. Several muscles may cause one wrinkle. So, those lines between your eyebrows may require five or six injections (with a very small needle). Similarly, crow’s feet won’t be eliminated by one injection.
For the usual ‘touch-up’ treatments that most people choose (frown lines, crow’s feet, forehead), the procedure may take about 15 minutes.
WHERE ELSE IS BOTOX EFFECTIVE?
The list keeps growing. There are more and more facial areas that are now commonly treated with Botox.
- Sometimes, injections are helpful around the mouth, and in the neck to reduce or eliminate neck bands.
- We can even inject Botox to give a ‘lift’ to a nasal tip that droops.
- Botox is an effective treatment for hyperhidrosis, a condition marked by excessive perspiration. It can be injected to reduce the amount of sweating of the underarms, and hands.
- There are many medical conditions aided or relieved by Botox-type injections, including chronic migraine headaches, and relief of a number of muscle conditions, including spasms of the neck muscles.
IS BOTOX SAFE?
Botox injections have been used for cosmetic purposes for more than 20 years. Serious complications are extremely rare, and most patients tolerate the substance and the procedure well enough, to have made it a regular part of their routine.
As you probably know, it is not a permanent, or even semi-permanent treatment. On average, the injections are effective for 3 to 4 months to reduce wrinkles, and about 6 months for reduction of sweating.
Most of the reported side effects, involve temporary bruising of the skin, or headaches. Your doctor will be able to give you information to help avoid bruising, and what to do, should a bruise occur.
The full effects of the treatment may take up to a week to appear, so patients are advised to schedule injections several weeks before any major “event.”
Schedule your visit with a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon. As mentioned earlier, there are many muscles in the face and body, responsible for different movements. You’re advised to choose a provider who is well-trained and experienced.
WHAT’S NEXT?
Something new is always on the horizon in the world of medical research. We can tell you that a topical (no injection) gel-type form of botulinum toxin is in development right now, in our own Silicon Valley. The gel would be applied to the skin surface in doctors’ offices, by trained personnel. Reports say the effectiveness of the treatment may be of shorter duration, since it is not injected directly into the muscle.
We will let you know more, as soon as more information becomes available.
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San Jose Plastic Surgeon