BOTULINUM TOXIN (BOTOX) THERAPY
What is Botulinum Toxin? How does it work in wrinkles?
It is a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. When injected in large quantities, the toxin causes paralysis of muscles. When injected in very small amounts into a particular muscle, it causes paralysis of that muscle only. Therefore if it is injected into small groups of muscles which cause frowning and wrinkling, the frown lines and wrinkle lines will disappear. The toxin (available to your dermatologist) has been purified.
What is Botulinum Toxin used for?
It is to treat:
- Puckering of the chin
- Vertical frown lines (mid forehead, in between the eyebrows)
- Crow's feet (side of eyes I cheeks)
- Horizontal wrinkle lines on the forehead
- Vertical and horizontal neck lines
- Bunny lines on the bridge of the nose
How is Botulinum Toxin administered?
The toxin is injected serially into a group of muscles which controls frowning and wrinkling, with a very fine needle.
When treating frown lines, the toxin is injected into a group of muscles just above the eyebrows. The toxin is also injected into a muscle at the bridge of the nose. When treating crow's feet, the toxin is injected serially at several points into the muscles causing the wrinkles at the side of the eyes.
How long will the treatment take? Is it painful?
It takes only a few minutes. It is a relatively painless procedure. The patient will experience pain from the needle pricks only.
What must I do after the injection?
After the treatment you should remain upright for 3 -4 hours. During this period you must try to move the muscles that have been injected as much as possible to maximise the effect of the toxin on the muscle. Do not rub the skin or muscles on or around the injected site. Do not fly for 24 hours.
How long will the anti-wrinkling effects of Botulinum Toxin lasts?
The anti-wrinkling effect sets in within three to four days after the injection. By the second week, full paralysis of the wrinkling muscle will take place. The anti-wrinkling effect of Botulinum Toxin lasts 3-6 months. There is individual variation. Gradually muscle function returns and wrinkles reappear. When this happens a repeat treatment is necessary to maintain the desired results.
Are there any side effects?
Botulinum Toxin injection is a relatively safe procedure. Side effects are uncommon. They are usually related to the injection procedure itself. There may be slight discomfort from the needle prick and a small chance of a bruise developing around the injection site. Slight drooping of the eyelids may occur but this is uncommon and transient. Transient headaches may occur. No permanent side-effects from injection have been reported so far. The body is not symmetrical and sometimes the injections can have a more pronuced effect on one area or side.
Is the anti-wrinkling effect of Botulinum Toxin permanent?