|Recently Approved Botox Treatments|
BOTOX® (Botulinium A) has been used safely by physicians for 20 years to treat patients with certain medical conditions such as eye spasms, central nervous system disorders and excessive muscle contractions. The more recent use of BOTOX® to reduce wrinkles was discovered almost by accident. Vancouver dermatologist, Dr. Alastair Carruthers, began using BOTOX® to treat signs of aging in 1986 after his wife Jean, an ophthalmologist, observed that her patients who were treated for eye spasm lost their crow's feet. According to Dr. Carruthers, one patient actually commented that she looked "much happier" and "less angry" because the BOTOX® also improved the wrinkles between her eyebrows.
Since that time, Aesthetic Physicians began using BOTOX® injections to reduce horizontal creases in the forehead, frown lines and other areas of the face and neck. The overall effect of BOTOX® is a relaxed, smooth appearance. If administered properly, the final result is natural and pleasing to the majority of patients.
Experts have observed that BOTOX® is most effective in the upper third of the face (eyes and forehead) but other areas of the face and neck can be treated as well.
BOTOX®, short for Botulinum Toxin A, works by binding to nerve endings and preventing the release of chemical transmitters that activate muscles. Botulinum toxin therapy is used to paralyze small muscles of the face which cause frown lines, crow's feet and other wrinkles. It decreases the ability to frown or squint, thereby preventing the appearance of lines and wrinkles caused by repeated facial expressions. BOTOX® affects the ability of the muscle to move, but does not impair sensory perception.
How is BOTOX Administered? A small amount of Botulinum Toxin A is administered by a physician in the area where a person desires an elimination of wrinkles. Doctors use a fine-gauge needle to inject BOTOX® into the skin and muscle. To treat crow's feet, two to three injections are given on the side of the face close to the outer region of the eyes, known as the "orbital rim." Patients should know that injection of BOTOX® in the orbital rim, reduces, but does not abolish wrinkles in this area. The result, however, is very satisfying to many people who are self conscious about the appearance of their crow's feet, especially when they smile.
To treat forehead lines, 10 to 16 small dose injections are administered over the forehead area. The goal is to weaken, rather than paralyze the forehead muscle, according to experts. In certain cases, BOTOX® can be used to improve the appearance of "laugh lines," the folds in the area between the nose and lips (naso-labial folds). There is a risk, however, of lip drooping or other unfavorable cosmetic results in the mouth area when treating the naso-labial folds. The outer portion of the fold is better treated by other means, such as facelift surgery. Unwanted horizontal lines on the neck, nasal flares and chin creases have also been treated successfully with BOTOX®. These areas are treated less frequently.
An alternate method of delivery BOTOX® involves the use of a needle, which is connected to an EMG (electromyography) recorder which guides a physician in locating muscles. An audio signal can be heard when the probe comes in contact with the most active part of the muscle. While this technique may allow for more accurate placement of BOTOX®, it can be more painful. Experienced physicians in many cases do not require the use of EMG.
People who wish to reduce the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes and on the forehead, but don't want cosmetic surgery are good candidates for this procedure. For this group, BOTOX® is an effective but temporary treatment. The effect of BOTOX® usually lasts four to five months. However, more frequent treatments seem to produce a "build up" of BOTOX®. Studies show that individuals who have had at least five treatments had results that lasted longer.
BOTOX® is not recommended for:
BOTOX® Injections: Side Effects and Risks
Another side effect when BOTOX® is used around the forehead is eyelid droop, known as ptosis. This temporary condition occurs in about 5% of patients. It usually appears 7 to 14 days after the injection and can last 4 to 6 weeks. A more speedy method of treating ptosis is the application of prescription eye drops (iopidine). In many cases, these drops will help resolve the droop within a few days. To reduce the risk of ptosis, patients should obtain BOTOX® from a physician who is experienced in its use. It is also important for a patient to remain vertical for 4-6 hours after the injection. This allows the BOTOX® to be taken up in the treated area and reduces the chance of displacement to other muscles. It is also helpful to contract the treated muscles repeatedly (smile or squint depending on the area treated). Do not touch the injected sites for two to three hours.
A welcome side effect for some patients is the disappearance of "tension headaches." Researchers are now experimenting with BOTOX® to determine whether it can help in eliminating migraine headaches for persons who are affected by them.
BOTOX® can reduce or eliminate wrinkles without surgery. It is a unique treatment because unlike other non-surgical treatments such as chemical/laser peels and collagen injection, BOTOX® corrects underlying muscle instead of the skin surface or subsurface.
BOTOX® appears to be a safe cosmetic procedure when administered by a well-trained physician to an appropriate candidate. In terms of safety, muscle biopsies taken from patients after repeated injections of BOTOX® have not shown any evidence of muscle weakness or degeneration.
Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration state that there have been no reports of systemic toxicity from injections. BOTOX® is recognized by the American Academy of Neurology, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the National Institutes of Health as safe and effective.
Patients should be aware, however, that presently BOTOX® has recently been approved for cosmetic use. According to one expert, BOTOX® may be the "ideal cosmetic procedure" because it produces "dramatic results, has few side effects and is reversible." For persons who are not candidates for cosmetic surgery or cannot afford it, BOTOX® may provide the solution for their quest for a more youthful appearance without the risks of other procedures.
Gurney F. Pearsall, Jr., M.D.