Is Botox Right for Me?

Overview

Published: 09/16/2013

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Originally introduced in the 1980's as a treatment for optic muscle disorders, Botox is commonly used these days to treat moderate to severe wrinkles, frown lines, crow's feet and forehead furrows. Consistently ranking in the top five of nonsurgical cosmetic procedures each year, this injectable filler is also used to ease several medical conditions, including migraine headaches, eye coordination problems, severe armpit perspiration and ocular muscle spasms.

How Does it Work?

Unlike common soft tissue fillers, such as Sculptra Aesthetic and Juvederm, which provide volume to skin, Botox prevents the natural release of acetylcholine, a chemical that triggers muscle contractions associated with wrinkles. Essentially, the injectable paralyzes the muscle to prevent it from contracting. Results are typically noticeable within a week of treatment and usually remain for at least three months.

Botox is typically performed using numbing cream and local anesthesia. Patients may experience slight discomfort; however, modern needles are so fine and thin, most procedures tend to be relatively painless. Treatment tends to last 20 minutes or less, depending on the extent. Prior to the procedure, the practitioner will mark injection points using a pencil. The doctor normally chooses numerous points for each treatment area. Most often, these points are where the muscle contracts and not necessarily where the wrinkles are noticeable. Once the points are marked, the doctor injects the filler beneath the skin.

Are There any Risks or Side Effects?

Though rare, treatment can lead to certain side effects, such as nausea, headache, redness, pain and flu-like symptoms. On rare occasions, patients may experience drooping of the eyelid muscles and muscle weakness. Many types of practitioners perform Botox injections, including dermatologists, facial plastic surgeons, and board-certified plastic surgeons. The procedure requires a precise understanding of facial anatomy, and complications are more common when treatment is performed by unskilled practitioners.