Unremarkable. I mean, that’s a good thing in the MRI-reading world, but I’d like to say my brain is freakin’ remarkable sometimes. Maybe I’m biased. Anyways. Shortly after those tests, the Botox arrived at the office and I was scheduled for my injections. To say I was scared is putting it lightly. Like I mentioned before, I have a complete irrational fear of new medication. Also, I didn’t want my face to look different! So I documented my wrinkles just to see how many would last (if you want, be my guest to check out my embarrassing video). I didn’t have to wait long and before I knew it, I was in a room with my mom, my boyfriend, a neurologist and three needles.
Results can vary depending on who is performing the injection on the patient. It is very important to go to a physician who is experienced at this procedure, does it him- or herself (rather than having a nurse, physician's assistant [PA], or other nonphysician do it), and has a good reputation for performing this type of procedure. The manufacturers of Botox recommend physicians inject the medication themselves. As with most procedures, the skill of the practitioner is related to how often he or she performs the procedure.
In my experience, this, like all other treatments we use in medicine, doesn’t benefit every patient. I find that it helps a majority of appropriate patients, that is, those patients with a diagnosis of chronic migraine who have failed not just abortive but also preventative migraine treatments. Is there sufficient benefit, however, to outweigh the cost and pain of this treatment? In the case of most of my patients, the answer is yes.
OnabotulinumtoxinA is the only treatment approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of headaches in adult patients with chronic migraine (CM). CM assessment involves a detailed history to rule out secondary sources of headache, establish migraine features, and assess the total number of headache days. In order to diagnose migraine, the patient should have had at least five attacks that involve migraine features, as outlined below. In adults, untreated attacks usually last 4 or more hours.
The more areas that need treatment the higher the cost of treatment. The reason is also simple – the cost of Botox or Dysport that the doctor pays for the drugs is relatively expensive and therefore that cost is obviously passed along to the patient. A second factor that many patients are unaware of is that Botox and Dysport come in a powder form that must be mixed with sterile saline to reconstitute the vial. The amount of water that is mixed with the Botox or Dysport determines the concentration of the medicine. Some doctors and nurses dilute the powder too much so that the concentration of Botox or Dysport is weak. So if you go to a provider who advertises a cheap price for injections you should question whether or not you are receiving a very dilute injection.This dilute mixture typically does not produce the same effect as a more or not concentrated (more expensive) injection and does not last as long.
Ratings on RealSelf.com (www.RealSelf.com) show a satisfaction rate of 65% for Botox, which is on par with other treatments such as Restylane, Juvederm, and Perlane and slightly higher than Xeomin and Dysport. Longer-term treatments, such as Ultherapy facial tightening and Liposuction/SmartLipo achieve ratings in the 80% and above area, while others such as CoolSculpting (Zeltiq) achieve ratings in the 70% area. This may reflect upon the short-term nature of all botulinum toxins versus the longer-term nature of these other procedures.