Botulinum Toxin or Botox is the most popular nonsurgical procedure in the U.S. with over 4.5 million of them performed last year!
What is Botox?
Botox received FDA approval in 2002 for cosmetic treatment aimed at enhancing the youthful appearance of the face by eliminating wrinkles and fine lines. It gets its name from a toxin that is produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. Given in the form of injections by qualified and trained surgeons, such as Dr. Nassif, Botox is used to treat many conditions such as:
- Smoothening out of wrinkles, crow’s feet, frown lines
- Reduce underarm sweating
- Uncontrolled blinking known as blepharospasm
- Muscular contractions caused in a neurological disorder called Cervical dystonia
- Overactive bladder
- Chronic migraine
How does Botox work?
Overactive muscles or overuse of certain muscles can result in wrinkles and fine lines. A chemical transmitter known as acetylcholine released in the nerve fibers is responsible for contraction of muscles. Botox injections work to block the nerves thereby preventing the release of acetylcholine. Instead of contracting, the muscles stay relaxed which means absence of wrinkles.
What does the procedure involve?
Botox injections have to be administered by a qualified medical professional. The procedure begins with an initial consultation where the outcomes and expectations are discussed. You would be asked to quit smoking and alcohol two to three weeks before the treatment to get maximum results from the treatment. Dr. Nassif may ask you to stop certain medications including aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medications to reduce chances of excessive bleeding and bruising at least two weeks before the treatment.
The injections and the amount of Botox needed are determined by the medical professional. After administration into the problem areas, the movement of the muscles in that area are frozen by the toxin. The injections themselves take a few minutes to administer and there is no requirement of a general or local anesthetic. You could undergo the treatment during your lunch break as usually the appointment lasts for less than 15 minutes. There is no downtime and you can return to work immediately.
The results are visible within 72 hours although it could take seven days to obtain maximum effect. Dr. Nassif may ask you to follow up to review the response to Botox injections. It is common to see a partial response to the first set of Botox injections while complete muscle relaxation is obtained after the second or third set of injections.
Am I a candidate?
Dr. Nassif is the best person to guide you regarding your candidacy for Botox. Generally, you are an ideal candidate if you are an adult and in overall good health with moderate to severe wrinkles around the eyes, neck or forehead.
Botox injections are not recommended for pregnant or lactating women, or for patients who have certain neuromuscular disorders like Lambert-Eaton syndrome, myasthenia gravis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s). People who are allergic to human albumin should also not undergo Botox treatment.
Which areas can Botox treat?
Botox is FDA approved to treat lines around the eyes called crow’s feet, lines on the neck, squint lines or nasal scrunch, horizontal lines on the forehead, frown lines between eyebrows.
How many treatments are needed in a year?
Depending on the extent of wrinkles and the areas that need to be treated, patients may need to visit three to four times in the first year. Most patients need two to three treatments from the following year onwards. The results last between four to six months and lesser injections may be needed subsequently as the muscles adapt to the relaxation. Since each individual responds differently, the medical professional is the best person to advise on the required number of treatments in a year.
What are the side effects?
Slight bruising and a minor headache are common side effects that subside within a day or two. Few people could experience eyelid or eyebrow droops which also resolves in two to three weeks. Allergic reactions are very rare and not commonly encountered. When a qualified and experienced medical professional administers the injections, most other problems are not witnessed.
A board certified medical professional will evaluate your allergy history and review your medical history to ensure that you are a good candidate for Botox.
The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery recommends the following to people considering Botox® treatments:
1) The physician’s credentials should be checked. The human face has a complex anatomy. The physician must be familiar with the physiology and function of more than 40 muscles present in the face. He or she should be also be qualified and trained in facial plastic surgery. The members of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery are qualified in performing injections to the face based on their extensive expertise and experience in performing facial plastic and reconstructive surgical procedures.
2) Insist on a complete medical evaluation. When submitting to any medical treatment that might involve complications, a person should consult with a physician for a medical evaluation and complete medical history prior to treatment.
3) Be well-informed. The consultation should include a discussion of the potential risks, benefits, and any alternative treatments when recommendations are made, as well as an explanation of the factual information. An informed consent document must be signed by the patient.
The patient should avoid the consumption of any alcoholic beverages prior to undergoing any medical procedure.
4) Choose the appropriate setting for Botox® treatments. Botox® injections are medical treatments and these medical treatments should be performed in the presence of trained medical personnel. Proper equipment should be accessible to deal with any potential complications.
Injections should be performed using sterile methods. The proper disposal of needles and syringes used to perform these injections is a requirement of any procedure.