Botox prevents migraine headaches before they start, but takes time to work. “I look to the second and third treatments to maximize effects,” says Dr. Andrew Blumenfeld. “Patients see increasing benefit with an increase in the number of treatment cycles.” One treatment lasts for 10-12 weeks, and patients reported that two Botox treatments reduced the number of headache days by approximately 50%.
Botulinum toxin exerts its effect by cleaving key proteins required for nerve activation. First, the toxin binds specifically to nerves which use the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Once bound to the nerve terminal, the neuron takes up the toxin into a vesicle. As the vesicle moves farther into the cell, it acidifies, activating a portion of the toxin which triggers it to push across the vesicle membrane and into the cell cytoplasm. Once inside the cytoplasm, the toxin cleaves SNARE proteins preventing the cell from releasing vesicles of neurotransmitter. This stops nerve signaling, leading to paralysis.
With this in mind, the average cost for treating forehead lines varies from approximately $200 to $600. Patients with fine lines or smaller facial muscles won’t require as many units of Botox to achieve a successful outcome, whereas patients with stronger facial muscles (such as pronounced corrugator muscles which cause deeper frown lines) could require more.
Laser tattoo removal has minimal side effects. Lasers break up the pigment of the tattoo with a high-intensity light beam. During the procedure, the patient wears protective eye shields and may be giving anesthesia. The pulse of the laser feels like the snapping of a rubber band against the skin. Possible side effects include a risk of infection, hypopigmentation, and hyperpigmentation.
Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing.
Most practices have a flat cost for each injection of BOTOX® Cosmetic, though some will break it down by “units” used per treatment. Flat rates are usually somewhere between $300 and $1000, while per-unit rates are usually around $10-15 per unit. Though the BOTOX® Cosmetic price paid by physicians is normally about $400 for each vial (each vial contains 100 units, or enough for about 4 or 5 treatments), the vial must be used within a few hours of opening, so if the entire vial is not used, the physician will often have to throw the rest out.
Think about it this way: people make facial expressions every single day, whether it's expressing an emotion (i.e. smiling) or simply out of habit (i.e. raising your brows). Making facial expressions causes temporary dynamic lines to show up in your face. These lines go away when your face returns to rest. However, as you continue to make facial expressions, day after day and year after year, and as your skin ages, these lines start to get etched in your skin. That's when frown lines get progressively deeper for people who frown all the time. Or when crow's feet stay put even after you stop smiling or squinting. Eventually, what once were dynamic wrinkles become wrinkles that are just there, even when you don't make any facial expressions.
Andrew M. Blumenfeld is director of The Headache Center of Southern California. Most of his research has focused on the use of OnabotulinumtoxinA in the treatment of chronic migraine. He helped develop the injection paradigm approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and has taught providers around the world on practical aspects of this treatment option.
Sunburn alert: The AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser and AHA/BHA Cream in the Lytera® 2.0 Advanced Pigment Correcting System contain an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that may increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Patients should use a sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and limit sun exposure while using these products (or this system) and for a week following.
Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including: plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; have trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® Cosmetic can harm your unborn baby); are breast-feeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® Cosmetic passes into breast milk).