Thursday, October 21, 2010

What is Botox and how does it work?

                                                             Orange County Plastic Surgery Forum:

What Is Botox?
Derived from the botulinum toxin type A, Botox is a brand name for a highly purified and diluted preparation of botulinum used in numerous medical and cosmetic applications. It is also sold under the names Dysport and Myobloc. Botox is most widely known for its use in removing wrinkles.
While the botulinum toxic itself is highly poisonous and even deadly, the same toxin in smaller doses can be used to safely treat a variety of conditions. Botox is most widely known for its use in removing wrinkles, but is also has numerous medical applications.
Botox was first used in medicine to treat strabismus, a condition in which a person's eyes do not align normally, and blepahrospasm, or uncontrolled blinking. Today, Botox is the most commonly performed cosmetic operation in America, with over four and a half million people getting the treatment in 2007.
Does Botox Work?
Botox does work to lessen the appearance of wrinkles, but this effect is temporary and has a host of risks attached, including paralysis of the wrong muscles and changes in facial expressions. So is Botox a fountain of youth or just poison injected into your face? Like so many things in life, the answer isn't black and white, and while this answer many not satisfy some readers, both are true to a certain extent.
What Is BotoxUsed For?
Cosmetically, Botox is only FDA approved for use in smoothing out wrinkles in the forehead between the eyebrows, reducing crow's feet, forehead lines and frown lines. Additionally, Botox is used to treat various medical conditions, including:
  • Achalasia - an esophageal disorder characterized by difficulty swallowing
  • Blepharospasm - involuntary blinking
  • Cervical Dystonia - a neurological disorder that causes the muscles around the neck and shoulder to contract uncontrollably
  • Hyperhidrosis - abnormal underarm sweating
  • Strabismus - crossed eyes

Studies of the use of Botox in treating other ailments such as migraines and prostate problems are ongoing.
How Does Botox Work?
The everyday facial expressions we all make, from happy to sad and everywhere in between, cause our skin to lose resilience. Cosmetic Botox injections work by blocking signals that are constantly firing from your nerves to your muscles. This causes a controlled weakening of the specific muscle targeted, and when the muscle doesn't contract, wrinkles don't show up as much. Noticeable improvements are usually seen within the first month after treatment.
How Is the Treatment Administered?
Botox is delivered to the muscle via a fine needle and causes little discomfort. The procedure only takes about ten minutes and requires no anesthesia. If you're uncomfortable with needles, an icepack or anesthetic cream will do the trick.
Do I Need to Do Anything to Prepare for Botox?
Botox treatment methods vary from clinic to clinic. Some doctors recommend avoiding alcohol for one week prior to treatment and avoiding aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications for two weeks prior. This helps reduce the risk of bruising after injections.
Can Botox Be Used on Other Wrinkles?
No. Botox is only approved by the FDA for use between the eyebrows.
Will Botox affect my ability to make expressions?
You will still be able to make all the facial expressions you always could after Botox injections, just without the wrinkles between your brows showing. Only the muscle that has been injected with Botox is paralyzed. Problems making facial expressions arise when the wrong muscles are paralyzed, and this typically occurs when Botox is administered by someone who's unqualified. The FDA strongly advises against attending Botox parties for this reason.
When Will I See the Effects of Botox?
Noticeable reduction of wrinkles will be seen within 2-3 days, and the full effects of Botox takes up to week to show.
How Long Does Botox Last?
The effects of a Botox injection last for approximately 4 - 6 months, and the wrinkles will return as the muscle starts to function normally again. Over time, the wrinkles will look smoother even without Botox, as the muscles are being conditioned to relax.
What Are the Side Effects of Botox?
The most common side effect of Botox is mild short-term bruising, which is caused by the mode of treatment rather than by the drug. When Botox is administered by a qualified medical professional side effects are quite rare but may include:
  • Allergic Reaction
  • Botulism - this illness is characterized by widespread paralysis and is rare when Botox is used correctly
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headache
  • Paralysis of incorrect muscles
  • Sagging eyelids
  • Stomachache

How Much Does Botox Cost?
Depending on various factors such as the experience of the doctor performing the treatment and location of the clinic, Botox typically costs from $200 to $800 per treatment.
Will My Health Insurance Pay for Botox?
Most insurers will not cover Botox for cosmetic use.
Am I A Good Candidate For Botox?
Because the procedure, which requires a short series of injections over the span of a few minutes, is a fairly simple one, most people find they are good candidates for Botox. Botox is FDA approved for use on people between the ages of 18 and 65.
  • Do not use Botox if you are breastfeeding.
  • Do not use Botox if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
  • If you have a neurological or muscular disorder, tell your doctor during your consultation session.
  • If you have any allergies, tell your doctor during your consultation session.

If you have any concerns about taking Botox treatments, be sure to bring them up to your doctor. Being informed about the process is the best way to feel comfortable about your decision. In addition, you may want to ask your doctor for references and look at some of his or her before-and-after pictures to get an idea of what to expect.
The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the counsel and expertise of a medical professional. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your doctor.

Can Botox replace a Facelift?

It's hard to believe that people would actually pay to have their faces injected with a bacterium that causes paralysis of the face muscles. But that is of course what millions of Americans do every year and the number continues to increase. Since the procedure received FDA approval in April of 2002, my phone continues to ring off the hook from patients with questions regarding the pros and cons of Botox injections.
As a matter of fact the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) says nearly 1.6 million Botox treatments took place in the year 2001, a 46% increase since 2000 and a whopping 2,356% increase since 1997. It is estimated that 2.8 million individuals in the U.S. underwent Botox treatment in 2008.
Although women usually outnumber men in their desire to look more youthful, men are finding they too are happy with their appearance after a visit to their skin specialist for a quick Botox enhancement.
Most people associate Botox with the "next best thing" to a facelift for getting rid of frown lines and forehead furrows. Not to mention that it costs a whole lot less and recovery time is minimal. Botox is fast and convenient to the extent that the treatment has been aptly named "the lunch hour procedure".
What many people don't know is that Botox was used in the past to treat a variety of medical conditions before it became widespread for cosmetic purposes. It was administered effectively to treat crossed eyes, uncontrollable blinking, skin conditions, as well as glandular and neurological disorders.
When the FDA finally approved it, a press release stated that Botox should be used temporarily for improving "the appearance of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows". In a random study, placebo-controlled, researchers found that frown lines vastly improved or disappeared in people within a month of being injected with Botox.
Why the Controversy?
First of all, Botox comes directly from a deadly bacterial toxin, Botulinum Toxin Type A, a protein complex produced by Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium known to cause severe food poisoning and even death. A shot of poison into your face doesn't sound like a very smart thing to do, but here is how it works.
When injected into the face, Botox blocks acetylcholine receptors and halts the pathway leading to the contraction of muscles controlling the ability to frown. When used properly by a qualified doctor, the results are surprisingly beneficial. It only takes about a fraction of a teaspoon of Botox to make a dramatic difference in the disappearance of frown lines.
Typically, Botox treatment is done in a doctor's office. The patient is asked to sit upright and flex his or her facial muscles while the Botox is injected. The patient is advised not to lie down for the next four or five hours to give the treated facial muscles a chance to fall into the natural positions they would hold during the day.
Results last for four to six months for most people but every patient responds differently to the drug.
Pros and Cons of Botox
I've touched on some of the pros of Botox treatment earlier in this article. It is quick, less costly than surgical procedures, minimally invasive, and you see results within a few days. The cosmetic industry refers to it as the ideal procedure and it has become a multi-million dollar market to say the least.
Let's talk about the downside of using Botox cosmetically. Any time you take a foreign substance into your body, especially a drug, there is the risk of side effects. These may include flu-like symptoms, nausea, respiratory problems, and facial pain like stinging, burning, or allergic reactions. Botox also weakens the facial muscles that have been affected by the injection.
There may also be complications with medications that you might presently be taking or if pregnant, it could affect your unborn fetus. However, the evidence of such potential side effects is at this time inconclusive.
One of the biggest concerns is that the person injecting the substance may not be qualified to do so. If Botox is not administered properly, it can cause the patient to have droopy eyelids for a week or longer. The FDA insists that a trained certified physician who specializes in facial cosmetics, in a sterile environment, give Botox injections.
Is Collagen a Botox Competitor?
Collagen is another popular cosmetic treatment that is often used alone or in conjunction with Botox. It is used to fill in creases, wrinkles and depressions in the face with results lasting anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Collagen is derived from purified bovine (cow) but can also be made synthetically for those who have a positive reaction to a preliminary collagen skin test.
The injections may be more painful than Botox and can become very expensive to keep up. The procedure is usually done as an outpatient in a similar fashion to that of how Botox is administered.
If you think Botox or collagen injections are for you, make sure to check the qualifications of your doctor and ask a lot of questions. Talk to your doctor about your concerns, identify your expectations and be specific on the results you are looking to achieve.
Weigh the pros and cons, consider the risks, and proceed only when you are completely comfortable with your doctor. The good news is the results are usually temporary, and the treatment is much less invasive than laser and surgical procedures. At the end of the day the choice is up to you!

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