Botulinum toxin is used to treat certain eye disorders such as crossed eyes (strabismus) and uncontrolled blinking (blepharospasm), to treat muscle stiffness/spasms or movement disorders (such as cervical dystonia, torticollis), and to reduce the cosmetic appearance of wrinkles. It is also used to prevent headaches in people with very frequent migraines. Botulinum toxin relaxes muscle by blocking the release of a chemical called acetylcholine.
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.
After the injection moves from the dermis and into the desired muscle, the nerves there are blocked—rather, their synapses, are blocked—by the Botox. So even though your brain my fire and signal for your body to move a particular muscle, Botox effectively blocks that firing and keeps the muscle from moving. The injected muscle can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften, and also helps prevent new ones from forming.
Risks are very minor with this procedure. The main risks consist of headache, pain, and flu-like illness. In rare cases, there may be a drooping lid or eyebrow area. It is important for the cosmetic surgeon to assess the patient's lids before injecting because the patient may not be a good candidate if he or she has an extremely droopy lid to begin with or one that is held up by constantly arching the lids. Ptosis (a severe drooping of the eyelid) can occur in up to 5% of patients but is very rare if the cosmetic surgeon does this procedure often. These complications are typically very minor occurrences and resolve with time.
BOTOX® can be used on the forehead lines, frown lines, crow’s feet, bunny lines (lines in the nose), chin (for dimpling), skin bands on the neck, and around the mouth (for smoker’s lines and down-turned corners of the mouth). Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity often will not respond to BOTOX®. It is important to re-emphasize that BOTOX® is NOT a facial filler (that is, it does not fill existing wrinkles) – it merely relaxes the muscles that are creating those wrinkles.
Are you ready to put your best face forward, but fear that Botox and other “lunchtime facelifts” are out of your budget? Are you wondering, “How much does Botox cost?” You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that some of the most popular and effective cosmetic treatments available are well within reach. A quick word of warning, though: If the prices seem too good to be true, they probably are. The products may be diluted or the treatment provider inexperienced. It’s worth spending a little extra time and money to get the results that you’re dreaming about!
Botox was introduced to the world in the late 1980s by ophthalmologists, who began using it to treat optic muscle disorders. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines) in 2002, and its popularity has soared ever since. Botox is consistently one of the top five nonsurgical cosmetic procedures performed each year.
First of all, for those who aren't familiar with migraines, they're different from headaches. Headaches are unpleasant, too, but are typically less severe than migraines and don't usually present with other symptoms besides the pressure and aching in the head. Migraines, on the other hand, can be much more intense and often come with nausea, seeing spots, vomiting, extreme fatigue, sensitivity to light and sound, and more.
According to the PREEMPT injection paradigm, 5 units of onabotulinumtoxinA is to be administered to two sites on each side for a total dose of 20 units across four sites in the cervical paraspinal muscle group near the midline. The first injection site is approximately 1 cm left of the midline of the cervical spine and approximately 3 cm (2 fingerbreadths) inferior to the occipital protuberance. The second site is measured approximately 1 fingerbreadth diagonally up at a 45° angle from the first injection. The injections should be administered in the most superficial aspect of the muscle, angling the needle 45° and superiorly. To aid in the placement of the injections, the patient should be positioned upright with the head in a neutral position. If the neck is flexed too far forward, injections may be too deep. Injections that are too low or too deep in this muscle group can lead to muscle weakness and neck pain. Injectors should use a suboccipital approach to ensure that the injection sites are not too low. In addition, a horizontal line can be visualized across the neck, approximately 2 fingerbreadths down from the occipital protuberance, to make certain the injections remain above the line and are not administered too low in the neck. The higher these injections are, the more likely that they will be in the muscle fascial condensation, which will minimize the potential for neck weakness. These injections should not be done below the hairline. Patients who have trigger points in the neck should not be injected at these sites as these are generally areas where muscles may be weakened and injections of onabotulinumtoxinA at these sites might worsen their neck issues.
In just over a decade, the number of people in the U.S. receiving cosmetic botulinum toxin type A injections--mostly from Botox but also from another brand called Dysport, which commands less than 10% of the market--exploded. From 2000 to 2015, use of the toxins for wrinkles increased 759%. It became a cultural phenomenon too, spawning Botox parties, Simpsons jokes, even greeting cards. In 2008, Sex and the City character Samantha famously quipped, "I don't really believe in marriage. Now Botox, on the other hand, that works every time."
Other side effects of BOTOX® and BOTOX® Cosmetic include: dry mouth, discomfort or pain at injection site, tiredness, headache, neck pain, eye problems: double vision, blurred vision, decreased eyesight, drooping eyelids, swelling of eyelids, dry eyes, and drooping eyebrows. In people being treated for urinary incontinence other side effects include: urinary tract infection, painful urination, and/or inability to empty your bladder on your own. If you have difficulty fully emptying your bladder after receiving BOTOX®, you may need to use disposable self-catheters to empty your bladder up to a few times each day until your bladder is able to start emptying again.
The most common severe adverse reaction associated with the use of BOTOX injection in patients with cervical dystonia is dysp hagia with about 20% of these cases also reporting dyspnea [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Most dysphagia is reported as mild or moderate in severity. However, it may be associated with more severe signs and symptoms [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
As you noted in your question, the effects of Botox don't last forever. For some patients the short term effects of Botox are a ‘good thing,’ as it means that trying Botox is a relatively low risk/low commitment procedure. If you don't like your Botox results, there's not much to worry about: They will fade on their own in a few months. Generally speaking, the results last between three to five months -- but the duration of the Botox effect depends on the individual and on how many Botox units were used.
Who is injecting your Botox? Injecting Botox is deceptively easy. After all, it looks like the nurse or physician just takes a little fluid and squirts into facial muscles, and Walla ! Perfection! The answer is No! You should choose a specialist with years of experience and the ability to assess your facial features to create the best treatment plan possible. Because when Botox is injected in the wrong place it can produce unwanted side-effects that you might find disturbing. For instance if the injector “chases” a wrinkle across your forehead and it happens to be too close to your central eyebrow then the Botox or Dysport can drift downward inhibiting a muscle that lifts your eyelid resulting in a drooped upper eyelid. I know you don’t want that! Or if the practitioner injects only your “11” frown lines between your brows and does not inject other areas of your brow to balance out the effect then you may get a “boomerang”brow – a “Spock”-like overarched brow that looks hideous. So like everything else experience counts but more experience usually translates into a more expensive treatment sessions. However, avoiding complications can save you money and aggravation in the long run.
Normally you would see improvement within a few days. Botox requires two to four days for it to attach to the nerve ending that would normally stimulate the muscle to contract. The maximum effect usually occurs at about 10-14 days. Therefore, whatever effect is obtained two weeks after the injections should be considered the maximum effect that is going to occur.
During treatment, very low doses of Botox® Cosmetic are administered via a few tiny injections directly into the muscles responsible for frown lines between the brows. By blocking the release of a chemical that causes them to contract, Botox® Cosmetic enables them to relax. The effects are very localized and, when administered by an experienced injector, do not affect your ability to smile, laugh, or otherwise show expression. Botox® Cosmetic is the only product of its kind that has been approved for use in this area.
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).