Botox is a drug that is manufactured from a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum called cbotulinum toxin. This organism is found in the natural environment where it is largely inactive and non-toxic. It is used medically to treat certain muscular conditions and cosmetically to remove wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing muscles.
Botox therapy is also used for the treatment of excessive sweating, migraines, muscular disorders and some bladder and bowel disorders. Botulinum toxin, the most potent known biological neurotoxin, holds a great promise in the therapy of many diseases. It has also been used effectively to treat strabismus, dystonias and other movement disorders, and spasticity.
Amongst the most outstanding contributions to cosmetic therapy in the last quarter century has been the development to use botulinum toxin for cosmetic applications.
Botulinum toxin is injected with a fine needle into specific muscles with only minor discomfort. It is administered in extremely small concentrations and works by blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles. The injected muscle can’t contract which makes the wrinkles relax and soften.
Botox is most commonly used on forehead wrinkles, the so called glabellar frown and crows feet (lines around the eye). The injection only takes a few minutes and doesn’t require anesthesia. Generally, it takes three to seven days to take full effect, and it is best to avoid alcohol starting at least one week before the procedure.
There are many other successful applications of the neurotoxin around the face and neck, along with fillers such as hyaluronic acid. The two make an ideal combination to both enhance the results of cosmetic surgery or as treatment in their own right.
In order for muscles to contract, nerves release a chemical messenger, acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter), at the junction where the nerve endings meet muscle cells. The acetylcholine attaches to receptors on the muscle cells and causes the muscle cells to contract or shorten.
Injected botulinum toxin prevents the release of acetylcholine, preventing contraction of the muscle cells. The effect of botulinum toxin causes a reduction in abnormal muscle contraction allowing the muscles to become less stiff. Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity will not respond to botox.
Today, botox is the most popular cosmetic surgery treatment, with more than six million botox treatments performed each year.
With the understanding that many wrinkles in the face occur due to the overactive muscularture, the idea of paralyzing those muscles to allow the overlying skin to smooth is brilliant, and has more than stood the test of time. Today millions of people annually will consider botox therapy to improve their appearances. A botox injection usually lasts from four to six months. As the muscle action gradually returns, the lines and wrinkles begin to reappear and need to be treated again.
Patients can expect temporary bruising which is the most common side-effect and headaches which usually end within 24 to 48 hours – but this is rare.
Our practice offers botox therapy and fillers in the management of wrinkles and creases.