Botox: Smoothing Out the Facts

Botox is one of the most researched medicines in the world. It was discovered in the 1950’s and has been used as an FDA-approved cosmetic treatment since 2002. There are a lot of myths that can cause confusion for newcomers, and facts that seasoned patients aren’t even aware of. It’s time to smooth out the facts, and to answer the questions.

Safe and nontoxic

The FDA approved the use of Botox in 2002. As with all injectable treatments, there are some associated potential side effects, but most of these side effects are mild and temporary. Many people experience pain, tenderness and bruising , and some people have reported a slight headache after treatment.  There is only a small risk of significant side effects from Botox treatment. In fact, the most common significant side effect is a drooping eyelid. Only 3.2% of people experience this, according to one study. The drooping eyelid side effect generally only lasts a couple of days. More than 16 million treatments have been performed since it was first introduced in the marketplace. No long term side effects have ever been seen in users of the treatments even in studies that followed people who received thirty or more injections over a period of 9 years. It would take a dose of more than 100 times the average dose given for cosmetic use for cosmetic Botox treatments to be fatal.

Many people are under the impression that the treatment is botulism, or food poisoning. This is not true. It is a purified protein and a finished medical prescription product.

Consult your doctor

It’s important to remember that that all medical procedures carry risks as well as benefits, and you need to discuss these with your doctor. Only trained doctors should administer this treatment. Improper administration can result in severe reactions.

Keep Your Facial Expressions

When administered by a professional, you will still have the ability to show expression. The treatment only relaxes the face at the point of injection, and does not affect the other muscles of the face. Botox enhances these expressions, and, when administered properly, produces a more natural and relaxed appearance.

Treatment Goes Beyond Facial Lines and Wrinkles

In 1989, the FDA originally approved Botox for the treatment of crossed eyes and spasms in the eye muscles, and that was only the beginning. Since then, doctors have used it for medical procedures of all types, and the research is still continuing. Botox was approved in 2000 to treat the severity of abnormal head position and neck pain associated with cervical dystonia. Other uses for Botox include the treatment of excessive underarm sweating, overactive bladders, and increased muscle stiffness in elbow, wrist, and finger muscles with upper limb spasticity. Botox is the first medicine to be studied and then approved by the FDA in 2010 specifically for the prevention of headaches in adults with Chronic Migraine who have 15 or more days each month with headache lasting 4 or more hours each day.

Recent studies have shown that Botox is an effective treatment for clinical depresssion. We can accomplish this by treating the facial muscles involved in emotion. Facial muscles create emotional expression, which then create signals to the brain to reinforce this emotion. By treating these muscles, we can interrupt the cycle, and therefore prevent depressive symptoms.

Not Just for Older Patients

Patients 18-65 can use Botox. Younger patients often receive Botox treatments to help prevent premature aging and early wrinkle development. Patients who start out younger with Botox will need less aggressive treatments when they get older.

Impermanent Wrinkle Erasing

The effects of Botox usually last for 3-4 months. After that time, the lines and wrinkles will begin to re-appear, and the patient will repeat treatment . The intensity of the lines and wrinkles often decrease, however, because the muscles learn to relax.

Pain-Free with No Downtime

Botox injections do not hurt, and the sensation is often compared to a mosquito bite. There is a slight pinching feeling that lasts for a few seconds. Side effects are very rare, and if they do occur, they are very temporary. Bruising, redness, or sensitivity occurs; however this lasts only 2-3 days.

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