Botox® is a medication derived from botulinum toxin, which is the same microbe responsible for food poisoning. Botox injections first gained popularity in the field of dermatology. Today, Botox is being used to treat a wide range of health conditions, including Blepharospasm (involuntary twitching and muscle spasms) and Meige’s syndrome (a rare disorder which causes the muscles of the face to contract, especially the tongue and jaw). Botox is the primary non-invasive method of treating wrinkles and Crow's feet
Botulinum toxin prevents muscle contractions by blocking chemical signals from the nerves. As a skin treatment, Botox reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by relaxing facial muscles. Botox can be used to treat furrows and frown lines between the eyebrows, crow’s feet, and laugh lines caused by loss of firmness and decreased skin elasticity. It can also be injected into the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet to prevent excessive sweating known as hyperhidrosis. Botox can also assist in scar revisions from acne.
Botox injections are also effective at treating conditions affecting bodily functions. The injections can relieve the spasms and muscle contractures associated with neurological conditions like cerebral palsy and Meige’s syndrome. Botox can reduce headache frequency in patients suffering from chronic migraines. It can also be used to treat urinary incontinence resulting from an overactive bladder. Botox can also be used to treat conditions involving the eye muscles, such as lazy eye and eye twitching.
Is Botox® Safe?
Botulinum toxin should only be administered by a qualified and experienced doctor, dermatologist or medical provider. Like any other medication, there are some rare but potential side effects, including injection site reactions, flu-like symptoms, headache, and drooping of the eyelid, eyebrow, or mouth. Botox is not recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. If the toxin travels to other parts of the body, it can cause muscle weakness, trouble breathing, difficulty speaking and swallowing, vision problems, or loss of bladder control.
What You Can Expect
Botox injections are performed as an outpatient procedure. The doctor will use a fine needle to inject carefully determined amounts of Botox into the skin or muscles. The number of injections varies based on the size of the area to be treated. The discomfort is normally minimal and well-tolerated by most patients. In some cases, the doctor will use topical anesthesia to numb the area before starting the injections. Most patients start to notice the effects of the treatment within a few days. The benefits of the injections usually last at least three months.
Is There Any Downtime?
Patients are able to return to their normal activities immediately after the injections. It is important not to massage or rub the affected area since this may cause the botulinum toxin to travel to other parts of the body.
Learn about other facial fillers used in conjunction with Botox by clicking here.