Once frowned-upon, now the most popular
Introduced in the 1980’s for treating disorders of the optic muscles and vocal cord spasms, Botox also found a role in cosmetic facial enhancement. In 2002, the FDA approved Botox for use as an injectible in cosmetic procedures. Today, it is approved in more than 75 countries, and is one of the most researched toxins and the most studied medicine in the world.
Since its widespread acceptance, Botox injections have helped millions of men and women prevent or eliminate unwanted wrinkles and facial lines. In fact, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Botox injections accounted for over 4.8 million procedures—more than any other cosmetic procedure.
Where is Botox used?
Known as Botulinum Toxin Type A, Botox is an injectible protein used by board certified plastic surgeons in the treatment of various types of facial lines and wrinkles. It is primarily administered in the crow’s feet, forehead, and glabellar (between the eyebrows) areas.
Frown lines between the brows result from the contracture of two muscles that occur from squinting in the sunlight or from frowning over a period of years. When these muscles contract, the brows are pulled closer together. Over time, as the skin loses its elasticity, and the lines become more and more prominent. After years of muscle contraction, those lines of expressions linger longer and become deeper and more visible.
Fretting, anger, fear and other different emotional reactions also manifest themselves as different facial expressions.
How does Botox work?
Botox, a protein, is derived from bacteria that cause a type of food poisoning, blocks the release of the chemical acetylcholine that causes facial muscles to contract when injected intramuscularly. In effect, it paralyzes the muscle, preventing further contraction no matter what stimuli are present.
Results become evident within one to two weeks and may remain effective up to four months, although results may vary. In clinical trials, most of the men and women surveyed rated their improvement of frown lines between their brows as moderate to better a month after treatment.
What is the Botox procedure
First, your plastic surgeon determines exactly where the injection points will be for best results. Although with micro-fine needles the injections will barely feel like pin-pricks, the surgeon may still choose to numb the area with ice packs or a topical anesthetic cream.
Then, tiny injections are made along the treatment area. The entire procedure takes no more than ten minutes, with no post op care necessary.
Though Botox injections are entirely safe when properly administered, it is not advisable to use it if there is an infection at the injection sites, an allergy to the ingredients in Botox, or if the patient is pregnant.
Your surgeon may also ask you to avoid any blood-thinning products such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Aleve for two weeks prior to the injections to minimize bruising or bleeding.
To avoid any drug interactions, inform your plastic surgeon of any medications you may be taking. Also, list any over-the-counter medicines, alternative products or herbal supplements.