Botulinum Toxin

What is Botulinum Toxin

What is Botulinum Toxin?

Botulinum Toxin is a neurotoxin known for causing botulism. Commercially Botulinum Toxin is known as Botox and it is used to relax muscles to stop lines and wrinkles forming. Botulinum toxin (type a) is a prescription-only medicine licensed for cosmetic use by medical professionals.

Technical this Toxin acts by blocking acetylcholine, a chemical that is responsible for transmitting electrical impulses that cause facial muscles to contract in your face. This results in muscle paralysis. The resultant paralysis, however, is temporary, as the new growth of nerves will re-innervate the muscles.

How does it work?

When you concentrate, squint or frown, the muscles in your face contract causing lines and wrinkles. After many years lines and wrinkles will eventually become permanent. Messages are sent from the brain via nerves to the muscles, instructing them to contract. This medical product is a natural protein that works by interrupting this process, leaving those muscles unable to crease your skin. Over years, structures in the face tend to move downward. By reducing movement in the muscles which pull the brow downward, the large sheet of muscle which elevates the brow can act passively to lift the brow, open up the eye area and give a natural rejuvenated appearance.

Using Botulinum Toxin

What medical conditions can it be used?

Botulinum Toxin can be used for a variety of medical conditions. Examples include:

  • Cervical dystonia.
  • Lazy eye.
  • Muscle contractures.
  • Hyperhidrosis.
  • Chronic migraine.
  • Bladder dysfunction.
  • Eye twitching.

What risks are involved with using Botulinum Toxin?

The risks of complications from using Botulinum Toxin injections are small if it's injected correctly.

The most common post treatment side effects you may have:

  • a headache and flu-like symptoms for the first 24 hours
  • bruising, swelling and redness where the needles went in the skin
  • a frozen look – you might not be able to move the muscles in your face if too much toxin is injected
  • temporary weakness and droopiness in your face – for example, your eyelids or eyebrows may droop if the toxin moves into these areas

Very rarely, serious problems such as blurred or double vision can happen if the area around the eyes is treated, or breathing difficulties if the neck area is injected.

What to expect after your injections?

Partial reduction in function of the targeted muscles is seen by the 3rd or 4th day after botulinum neurotoxin toxin injection, with maximal reduction visible two weeks (14days) after injection. Return of muscle function is gradual, typically 3 to 4 months after treatment. Subsequent injections is highly recommended when muscle contraction is visible in the treatment area before facial lines return to their pretreatment appearance. After multiple treatments, botulinum toxin effects may be prolonged and, for some patients, treatment intervals can be extended beyond 3 to 4 months.

Why didn't my Botulinum Toxin work for me?

The 3 reasons why your Botulinum Toxin injections may not have worked for you include (this is not a definitive list):

  • You are not getting enough units
  • You are not being injected correctly
  • You have developed antibodies

There are alternative treatments such as dermal fillers depending on the area you a treating.

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