About Botulinum Toxin
Botulinum Toxin, also known as Botox or Botulinum Toxin Type A.
Botulinum toxin (Type A), or botox, is a cosmetic injectable which blocks the nerve signals that cause your muscles to contract. This then softens and relaxes the appearance of wrinkles caused by the repetitive movements of the face. Botox is also commonly used to enhance facial asymmetry and relax tight neck bands. Medically, it is used to reduce perspiration, treat migraine headaches and also muscle spasticity. The results of botulinum toxin can last from three to six months, but results may vary with each patient.
How is it performed?
Once you and your surgeon have decided on an appropriate treatment, they will prepare you for the procedure. The injection site will be cleansed and you will usually not require any anesthesia prior to having the injections. Depending on the result you would like to achieve, several injections may be required. You will experience some slight pain, brief swelling and possibly some redness and bleeding. The injection may take several days to reach full effect and often a follow up visit is scheduled a few weeks after the initial treatment to ensure the procedure has been effective. It is essential for a safe and successful procedure that your injector understands the muscles in the face and body, so it should always be performed by an experienced injector such as a board certified plastic surgeon.
Is it right for me?
You could consider botulinum toxin injections for cosmetic reasons if you are developing any wrinkles or lines on your face as a result of common facial movements or age. Depending on your genetics, lines can start to appear on the face as early as your late twenties. Your plastic surgeon may recommend using botulinum toxin as a preventative measure if you are prone to developing lines and making facial expressions that lead to wrinkles. If you are in good general health and have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are likely to be a good candidate for this procedure.
- Botulinum toxin injections are relatively painless and come with very low risks and little to no recovery time.
- Botulinum toxin is a relatively low cost treatment for achieving subtle changes to your features that can give you a refreshed and well rested look.
- A non-surgical option
- Results are not permanent and may only last three to six months, so you will need to have revision treatments in the future to maintain the results.
- If performed incorrectly botulinum toxin can cause your eyes or facial muscles to droop.
- Some bruising may occur if injected area is sensitive.
There is very little recovery time associated with Botox, so after the injections you can return to your regular activities almost immediately. It is however, advisable to avoid any strenuous activity for at least the remainder of the day and, if possible, the next day as well. Any redness or swelling that occurs during or immediately after the procedure will usually disappear fairly quickly. Any bruising that occurs will usually resolve over a week or two. You should avoid touching or massaging the injected area afterwards as this may inadvertently cause the botulinum toxin to spread to where it shouldn’t. Lying down or inverting the body shortly after injection can also cause complications and should be avoided. You should always ask or call your physician before taking painkillers or medication.
Limits & Risks
All cosmetic procedures carry a degree of risk. In the hands of an experienced and qualified practitioner, FDA-approved injections of botulinum toxin are relatively low risk. The most common side effects are:
- Temporary muscle weakness.
- Redness, irritation and swelling at the injection site.
In some rare cases, patients may experience headaches, dizziness, dry mouth, fever and nausea. If you experience a symptom that is more serious than this, such as a rash or trouble breathing, call your physician immediately. You can minimize the risk to you by carefully following the instructions and advice of your plastic surgeon before and after your cosmetic surgery procedure.