Botox is a cosmetic prescription medicine that is injected into muscles of the face to improve the look of moderate to severe frown lines, forehead creases, crow’s feet, neck bands and other wrinkles for a temporary period of time. It’s a simple, nonsurgical treatment that was rated the number one cosmetic procedure in the United States. It was approved by the FDA for cosmetic use in 2002, helping millions of patients get rid of nagging facial lines and wrinkles.
Botox Cosmetic is an extremely popular facial injectable because it is simple to perform and consistently achieves good results. With just a few injections, the procedure can paralyze facial muscles and prevent them from wrinkling. Botox typically reduces wrinkles by 80 percent. The name alone, Botox, is an implication of the true nature of the substance: Botulinum toxin type A.
A little bit of Botox treatment does a powerful job. The treatment is effective but temporary and has to be repeated every 3 to 6 months. Botox weakens the facial muscles that create wrinkles and frowns when they contract. When it starts to wear off, muscle activity will gradually begin to reappear, so you will not wake up one morning to all of your pre-Botox wrinkles. The goal of Botox is a subtle softening, but not necessarily the complete elimination, of facial expression lines.
If you are thinking about taking Botox injections, it is wise to first learn about the procedure and the possible side effects. Understanding how Botox works is an important step in making up your mind if it is a cosmetic procedure that will be worthwhile for you. Let’s go through the procedure step by step. Please note that although the treatment is typical, the routine may be different at certain places.
First, we will determine where to administer the injections by examining your ability to move certain muscles in your brow area. The location, size and use of the muscles that create a furrowed brow vary markedly among individuals. Botox (Botulinum toxin type A) is then injected with a very tiny needle. The injected Botox attaches itself to nerve endings. During unimpeded muscle function, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is released from these nerve endings, causing muscle contractions. Botox blocks the release of acetylcholine, causing the muscle to become relaxed.
Depending on the extent of Botox treatment, the procedure can take a few minutes up to 20 minutes. Generally, patients return home shortly after the treatment is complete. Patients may experience muscle weakness or drooping of the upper eyelid muscles. This side effect usually resolves itself within days, or in rare cases, months after the procedure.
Risks of Botox
Some of the risks of Botox are local numbness, swelling or bruising. Scarring from the fine needle tip is also possible. Some patients experienced a temporary headache and nausea. Most complications are experienced for only a short period of time and can be avoided with finding an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon that is knowledgeable of the proper injection techniques. A small percentage of Botox patients experience no improvement. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) states on their website, “BTX injections for aesthetic purposes appear to be safe and effective.”
Warning! Botox injections should not be administered if you are pregnant, nursing or taking certain medications. For example, effects may be increased with certain antibiotics. Make sure to inform us of all medications you currently take.