Things we should know about…Botox®. – Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre

Things we should know about…Botox®.

Not Happy with your Nose? Re-shape.
March 4, 2013
March 12, 2013

When the first purified strain of botulin toxin was used by an American ophthalmologist in an experimental treatment for cross eyes over 40 years ago, he was far from imagining that  it would accidentally open doors to one of the most well known cosmetic treatments today, commonly known as Botox®. Botox® is actually the registered trademark of a laboratory product. The active ingredient is a purified protein deriving from the botulinum neurotoxin, a nerve poison produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum – the same that causes botulism and food poisoning. This special ingredient is designated “Botulinum Toxin Type A” and it’s the safe, medical version, of the natural poison. Now, what does a nerve poison has anything to do with wrinkles? The botulinum toxin blocks the neuromuscular transmissions through the decrease of acetylcholine release. Meaning: this toxin, when applied directly on the muscle, blocks the “neuro orders” that cause the muscle to contract, therefore, stimulating the muscle … to relax. When applied in cosmetic medicine, this unresponsive condition of the muscle has proved truly effective in the treatment of wrinkles. The facial muscles, now unable to contract, prevent the forming of unwanted permanent wrinkles which are usually created due to frequent facial expressions. The benefits of a Botox® treatment are gradually seen from the 3rd day after the treatment, and takes up to 7 days to appreciate full results. Actually, according to the manufacturer, the area can continue to improve for up to a month. These treatment characteristics have created the misconception that Botox® ‘paralyses’ the face of the patient, an inaccuracy, as the muscle is just made a little…sleepy. However Botox® should be used in moderation by the patient, with the correct dosage being agreed by a skilled and experienced doctor. Overuse may result in an inexpressive face, unable to transmit emotion Botox® generally lasts from 4 to 6 months, after which the wrinkle appearance will gradually revert to pre-treatment levels. Therefore, if you wish to maintain the result, repeating treatments is required from time to time. On the other hand, if the result is not as expected, the procedure is not permanent, so you’ll gradually get back to your usual features. Some doctors consider that through repeated Botox® usage, the muscle “memory” of existing wrinkles actually fades or disappears, and as such the need for repeated treatment also decreases. For this reason, Botox® is widely known as a rejuvenation technique. What you probably don’t know… …is that the botulinum toxin is not exclusively used in the beauty sector to treat wrinkles. Allergan, the Botox® manufacturer, holds around 90 patents world globally and many of these are for therapeutic uses of this product. Botox® nerve suppressing properties have been used to treat diseases that affect the muscles, like Cervical Dystonia, Blepharospasm, Achalasia or Strabismus and even Migraines and Severe Axillary Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), producing great results. And although these are examples of approved treatments by the medical authorities, doctors have been using and experimenting it in a wide range of other conditions, including in Paediatrics. Side Effects Although usually minor and temporary, be aware that the use of this product can cause some side effects. These may include: allergic reactions, bruising and swelling at the point of injection, headaches, and fatigue for example. Pregnant women and people with neuromuscular disorders should avoid the use of this product. On a final note, it is useful to know that because Botox® was the first neurotoxin brand to market, it has been adopted as the name for the treatment, just as Aspirin or  Hoover have been in their respective market sectors. However, other competitor products like Xeomin, Dysport and Neuronox are also available on the market. Be aware that these products will differ by cost, duration and effects. In case of doubt, please discuss this with your Doctor. Before and After? Have a Look. Have a question? Ask here

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