Botox® is a neurotoxin product used by cosmetic surgeons to treat aging-triggered facial wrinkles. Botox® consists of a bacterium formed substance known as Botulinum Toxin which has the ability to temporarily paralyze or weaken muscles. In the United States, Botox® has been in use for over twelve years. Recently, a competitor to Botox® was introduced under the name of Dysport®. Even though it was approved in the United States a year ago, it has been in use in Europe for more than a decade.
Botulinum Toxin or Botox® containing injections are administered to specific facial muscles of patients. This is done to restrict those muscles from contracting, in order to stop the wrinkling of skin. Skin wrinkling in the face is primarily caused by muscle contractions, an accordion-like effect.
Botox® injections are ideal for patients who are unhappy with ‘dynamic lines’ which are caused by facial expression. Most of these lines, which are located in areas, like the crow’s feet lateral to the eyes, forehead and brow are all treatable by Botox®. There are some patients who look great when their face looks relaxed. But, once they frown, squint or smile, those earlier mentioned ‘dynamic lines’ starts to appear. For these types of patients too, Botox® injections do a great job.
Recovery and Results
Once Botox® injections are administered, it is imperative that the toxin stays in that specific, intended muscle. Hence, patients are advised by physicians not to rub the injected area or engage in any strenuous activities for at least two hours after the treatment. You don’t see the effect immediately after the injection; it first appears two to three days after the treatment for Botox® injections with maximum effect in about five days. Dysport® tends to work a little faster with many patients seeing the effect by the next day.
Once the toxin takes full effect, the results are known to last between three and half to four months on the average. When the patient feels the gradual restoration of movement to the injected muscle, that is an indication to go back for another injection. Many patients find that if they get their next injection before the last one wears off completely, that next treatment seems to last longer.
Botox® and Dysport® are approved by the FDA for treatment of the frown lines that occur between the brows during facial expression and the lines that occur next to the eyes with smiling. Lines in other areas of the face can also be treated such as the forehead to treat transverse lines caused by pulling up the brows but it is considered an ‘off label’ use in this area.
Many patients get an added benefit from Botulinum toxin injections into the forehead and brow. While the muscles are paralyzed from the treatment, they get a significant reduction in the severity and frequency of migraine headaches.
Botox® has also been successfully used to shrink the jaw muscles to reduce grinding of the teeth at night and narrow the lower face. It is also effective in reducing excessive sweating under the arms and in the palms (hyperhidrosis).