What is Botox?
Botulinum toxin, or Botox, works by weakening the muscles of facial expression. Once the resting tone of the treated muscles is weakened, the pull of the muscles relaxes and the overlying skin flattens. This approach is different than the other local treatments for the aging face. Silicone, Collagen, Autologous Fat Transfer, Alloderm, Softform etc. all work by filling in wrinkles or depressions. These fillers are frequently not as effective as Botox in removing wrinkles in the upper third of the face. By physiologically weakening the muscles, wrinkles are removed naturally.
How long does Botox last?
Injection of Botox into the small muscles between the brows, in the forehead and at the corners of the eyes cause those specific muscles to halt their function (be paralyzed), thereby improving the appearance of the wrinkles. This paralysis is temporary, and re-injection is necessary within three to ten months. Alternative options to Botox include injection of either collagen or free fat, or the surgical excision of the muscles, usually through a brow-lift incision. Complications from Botox injections are rare but may include paralysis of a nearby muscle resulting in its temporary loss of function (e.g., a drooping eyelid).
How is Botox used?
Botox is prepared fresh on the day of injection. Once prepared, the medication needs to be used within 12 hours as the potency diminishes with time. Because of the short shelf life and the cost, Botox is not available everyday in our office. In order for the treatment to be cost effective, more than one patient must be treated on the same day. At The Brandow Clinic very small amounts of Botox are injected into the muscles to be paralyzed by a certified cosmetic surgeon using a very tiny needle. Depending on the areas being treated, 5-15 needle pricks (or more) may be required. Discomfort is minimal and lasts only a few seconds.
Side Effects of Botox
Occasionally, the tiny needle may puncture a small blood vessel during the Botox injection and a small black and blue area may develop. Such an area can last 5-10 days and requires makeup to cover. There are no known generalized side effects to Botox.
If any of the Botox reaches a facial muscle not being treated, partial weakness of that muscle may last for several months. (It is for this reason that you are requested not to massage the injected areas for 12 hours following injection.) In the event of an area of unwanted muscle weakness, the only “treatment” is to wait for the effect of the Botox to wear off in several months.
Botox has been used safely in the treatment of muscular facial spasm for approximately 15 years.
Botox in combination with facial surgery
Botox injected in conjunction with nearby facial surgery has caused spread of the toxin and unwanted facial weakness in at least one patient. For this reason The Brandow Clinic will inject Botox only as an isolated facial procedure or treatment.
Notes on Botox Injections
The specific risks and the suitability of Botox injections for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are rare.