Botulinum toxin

Botulinum toxin injections, also known as Botox Cosmetic, Botulinum toxin, Myobloc and Dysport and Xeomin, are some of the most popular cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures performed around the world. All for a simple reason: they work!

Cosmetic uses of Botox toxin

Small wrinkles between the eyes, the crow’s feet, and in the forehead can be “removed” with a few small injections. Botox toxin’s effects last about three months, and the injections can be repeated safely. Technically, Botulinum toxin is only approved for injection into the glabella (the area between the eyes), but it has been used extensively and safely in other areas.

Other uses of Botulinum toxin

– treatment of migraines

– treatment of muscle spasms and spacticity

– treatment of hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating

– treatment of eye muscle disorders, strabismus

Limitations of Botox

Botulinum toxin has some limitations, like any other medication:

– takes 7-10 days to work

– works in all but works well only in 8 out 10 patients

– used with caution in patients with muscle diseases like ALS

– can cause allergies to itself, resulting in itchiness, redness, asthma

– effects on pregnancy and breast feeding are unknown

– rarely has effects away from the site of injection if injected in too high a concentration and by untrained individuals; this can cause double vision, trouble speaking, loss of bladder control and trouble breathing

More common side effects of Botox Cosmetic

– dry mouth

– pain at injection site

– tiredness or muscle weakness

– blurry or double vision

– headaches

– droopy eyelids

Biggest problem I see with Botulinum toxin injections

– Patient expectation – some patients have bigger and stronger muscles that cause deeper lines on the skin. Obviously, they will need more toxin to get the same result; but you will forget that when you see them! All you need is some more injected!

– Patient impatience – cosmetic patients are increasingly impatient for their surgical or procedure results. Medications need time to work! Botox needs 7-10 days for full effects, though you may see effects earlier!