Botox injections are done to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles.
What is Botox?
Botox injections contain a toxin called onabotulinumtoxinA that temporarily prevents muscles from moving. The toxin is produced by a microbe found in many natural settings. When used in a therapeutic context, the toxin is safe, with few side effects.
Other cosmetic products that contain the botulinum toxin include Dysport (abobotulinumtoxinA), Myobloc (rimabotulinumtoxinB), and Xeomin (incobotulinumtoxinA). Each is different in how they function.
How Does Botox Work?
Botox is a neurotoxin that targets the nervous system to disrupt the nerve signaling process that stimulates muscle contraction. The toxin causes temporary muscle paralysis by inhibiting the release of acetylcholine.
Who Needs Botox?
Botox injections inhibit the transmission of certain chemical signals from nerves, mostly signals that cause muscle contractions. Most patients undergo Botox injections to temporarily relax the facial muscles that cause wrinkles in the forehead and around the eyes.
Botox injections can also be done in the following areas of the face:
- Wrinkles between the eyebrows, called frown lines, glabellar lines, or elevens
- Wrinkles around the eyes, known as crow’s feet
- Horizontal creases in the forehead
- Lines at the corners of the mouth
- “Cobblestone” skin on the chin
Results can last three to 12 months, depending on the type of treatment.
A Botox injection may lead to the following side effects:
- Pain, swelling, or bruising at the injection site
- Headache or flu-like symptoms
- Eye dryness or excessive tearing
- Crooked smile or drooling
- Droopy eyelid or cockeyed eyebrows
Adverse reactions are rare, but the following symptoms require immediate medical attention:
- Muscle weakness
- Vision problems
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of bladder control
Who Isn’t a Candidate?
Botox is generally safe with few serious side effects. However, treatment is not recommended for patients with:
- An allergy to any of its ingredients
- A history of allergic reaction to any other botulinum toxin
- A skin infection at the planned injection site
- Neuromuscular disorders
- Nuerological diseases
Botox is also not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
It’s important to speak to a physician to find out if you’re a candidate for Botox.
What to Expect During The Procedure
The doctor will begin by numbing the treatment area, either with a topical anesthesia, ice, or vibration anesthesia. Next, the physician will use a thin needle to inject tiny amounts of Botox into the patient’s skin or muscles. The number of injections necessary will depend on many factors, including the size of the treatment area.
Patients will be instructed to avoid rubbing or massaging the treated area for 24 hours to help prevent the injection from spreading to a different area.
It can take 24 to 72 hours for the injection to take effect, and in some cases, patients may need to wait five days to see the full effects.