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Botox Uncovered

Poisonous protein or medical miracle

How does Botox work?

Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin protein produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. It is one of the most poisonous naturally occurring substances in the world, and it is the most toxic protein. Though it is highly toxic, it is used in minute doses both to treat painful muscle spasms, and as a cosmetic treatment in some parts of the world. The terms BOTOX® and Dysport are trade names and are not used generically to describe the neurotoxins produced by the clostridia species. Small and diluted amounts of the protein can be injected directly into the muscles affected, thus causing a controlled weakening of the muscles. [Wikipedia] In the late 1980s, the FDA approved the usage of Botox after studies had proven that it could stop illnesses like strabismus (lazy eye) and blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking). Botox has been used by cosmetic doctors and surgeons for years to treat facial creases and wrinkles. In April 2002, the FDA approved Botox as a treatment for glabellar lines, which are moderate-to-severe frown lines that develop between the eyebrows. Botox has also be used to treat other areas of the face, however, this use has NOT been approved by the FDA as safe.

Understanding wrinkles

There are what we call static or dynamic lines/wrinkles on our face. Dynamic wrinkles are present only when you animate your face, whereas static wrinkles are present all the time. Dynamic wrinkles, if they're in the forehead or crow's feet area, can be treated very well with Botox. However, Botox would not be a good treatment for a static wrinkle or for a nasal labial fold wrinkle (the line to the sides of the nose and mouth). Rather use a filler such as Restylane on these lines. It must be noted that wrinkles caused by gravity and sun damage cannot be treated by Botox.

What are the complications of Botox treatment?

The most common side-effect of Botox treatment is temporary and partial bruising. Headaches can also occur in rare instances. Meanwhile, some patients may develop eye drooping, which resolves usually in three weeks. This complication results from the migration of the Botox. For this reason, rubbing the treated area within 12 hours after the procedure is discouraged. Patients are advised to lie down for three to four hours after taking Botox treatment.

Important Safety Information: Serious heart problems and serious allergic reactions have been reported in BOTOX® Cosmetic treatment. If you think you're having an allergic reaction or other unusual symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, speaking or breathing, call your doctor immediately. The most common side effects following injection include temporary eyelid droop and nausea. Localized pain, infection, inflammation, tenderness, swelling, redness, and/or bleeding/bruising may be associated with the injection. Patients with certain neuromuscular disorders such as ALS, myasthenia gravis, or Lambert-Eaton syndrome may be at increased risk of serious side effects. BOTOX® Cosmetic is administered by physicians and is available only by prescription. Please See Full BOTOX® Cosmetic Product Information (PDF)

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