What is BOTOX® and who is a candidate for the procedure?
BOTOX® is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure that uses injections to treat visible signs of aging. The term BOTOX® refers to a form of botulinum toxin that can cause botulism when taken in large amounts. However, the smaller amounts that are used in BOTOX® injections are used to paralyze facial muscles that lead to the formation of lines and wrinkles on the skin. The skin is left with a smoother more taut appearance that will last for three months or longer.
BOTOX® was originally approved by the FDA in the 1980's to treat certain types of eye disorders like uncontrolled blinking and lazy eye. However, the benefits of BOTOX® on other facial muscles which move and ultimately create lines and wrinkles were soon discovered, and now cosmetic surgeons offer BOTOX® injections as one of the top anti-aging treatments. The procedure is non-invasive, takes just a few minutes to perform and requires no recovery time afterward. Effects of the treatment generally last four to six months, and at that time, a patient can opt for a repeat treatment to maintain the positive results.
Candidates for BOTOX® injections are in good health, between the ages of 35 and 60 and have realistic expectations about what the procedure can do. This treatment is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or patients who have a neurological disorder. Patients who are allergic to eggs should talk to their doctor about whether this procedure would be safe for them. The treating physician will counsel a patient as to whether BOTOX® injections will work on specific lines and wrinkles.
What benefits may be expected from BOTOX®?
BOTOX® has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
- Eye disorders such as lazy eye and uncontrolled blinking
- Muscle spasms in the neck
- Migraine headaches
- Excessive sweating
- Frown lines and crow's feet
The results of BOTOX® are generally seen within a few days after the treatment, and will continue for a few months. The amount of BOTOX® used varies based on the area being treated.
How is the procedure performed and what is the recovery like?
Patients are often instructed to avoid alcohol, aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications up to one week prior to the procedure to help prevent bruising. During the procedure, the skin is cleansed and a topical anesthetic may be applied to make the patient more comfortable. The injection sites are marked to assist the physician during the treatment.
The injection sites are usually not on the grooves or lines in the skin but in the area of the muscle contraction that causes the wrinkle to form. Injections are done using a fine needle and the entire process usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete. Patients are instructed to avoid lying down or bending over for two to four hours after the procedure. Strenuous activities should also be avoided during this time to reduce the risk of bruising. Most patients see results within three to five days after the procedure.
What risks may be associated with BOTOX®?
There are few risks associated with the BOTOX® procedure, but some patients will occasionally experience a headache, bruising or some mild discomfort afterward. A drooping eyelid can also occur after treatment, but this is very rare and will generally correct itself in time.
Patients may greatly reduce their risks by choosing a physician who is experienced with BOTOX® treatments and will accurately assess the patient prior to treatment to ensure candidacy. Experienced doctors are also more likely to use the correct amount of medication to achieve the desired results. Patients can also limit risk factors by following all instructions before and after the procedure.
How much does BOTOX® cost?
The average cost of a BOTOX® treatment may cost $350-$500 depending on where the procedure is being performed and how extensive the treatment will be. Patients will need to repeat the treatment every four to six months to maintain desired results. In most cases, BOTOX® is considered a cosmetic procedure and is not covered by insurance companies. Clinics may offer financing options to patients as well.
Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.
By Anti-Aging.org Staff
Updated: May, 19, 2010