Botulinium toxin, commonly known as BOTOX, is a substance that is injected into facial muscles to temporarily block nerve sensation. These injections change the muscle’s impact on the skin and stop its ability to wrinkle.
BOTOX typically is used to treat frown lines between the eyes, forehead wrinkles, laugh lines around the eyes (crow’s feet), as well as other areas. Plastic surgeons can use it to reshape the face to a minor degree: for example, it can be used to slightly lift the corner of the eyebrow to enhance the eyes’ appearance.
BOTOX is used to treat excessive sweating in the armpits, the palms of the hands, or soles of the feet.
The injections take only 10 or 15 minutes in the Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Center. The effect can be seen in three to four days and, on average, lasts for three to four months. In most cases, patients have minimal pain.
Who is a candidate?
Patients can range in age from 20 to 80, and the injections can be performed during the initial visit after the physician has explained the procedure in greater detail.
Before the procedure
Your plastic surgeon will perform a detailed analysis of your face and discuss your expectations. Over-the-counter blood thinners (including aspirin and vitamin E) should be stopped for a period of time before and after the procedure to limit the amount of bruising and swelling to your face. All prescription blood thinners should be managed by your prescribing physician.
In the office, the facial area(s) to be treated are numbed through the use of topical agents or ice.
Where will the procedure be performed?
The procedure is performed in a doctor’s office.
Type of anesthesia
Your plastic surgeon may use a topical anesthesia or a nerve-blocking agent to numb specific parts of your face before the injection.
Immediate postoperative recovery
You can resume normal activities immediately after the procedure. In most cases, there is little or no bruising, especially if regular use of aspirin or blood thinners is avoided.
The risks associated with BOTOX injections typically are minimal. There may be some bruising and mild facial asymmetry. These complications are very unusual, however, and will stop as the medication’s effects lessen. Not every person is a candidate for this procedure, and your risks may be greater or different than those of other patients. Your plastic surgeon will review all potential risks and complications with you prior to the procedure.
While every patient’s experience is different, BOTOX is an effective way to reduce wrinkles in certain parts of the face, and to make a refreshing change to facial expression. By altering the fine balance of facial muscles, it can produce a subtle and attractive reshaping which can enhance your overall appearance.
BOTOX is a registered trademark of Allergan, Inc.