Botox is actually one of several potent poisons (neurotoxins, specifically) produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. BOTOX® Cosmetic works by paralyzing the muscles into which it's injected, rather than acting as a filler like collagen. The paralyzed muscles can no longer create the scowling or squinting facial expressions that crease the skin to form wrinkles, and thus over time those wrinkles fade. And while Botox has lately received a lot of good publicity for its use in facial plastic surgery, it's hardly a newcomer to medicine. It has been used safely and extensively by doctors for nearly thirty years in the U.S. for treatment of a variety of muscular diseases in addition to using it for the treatment of wrinkles.
See the video below for more information on how Botox Cosmetic might be right for you:
Note that not all facial wrinkles will benefit from Botox injections, and determining whether yours could benefit from Botox or instead require different approaches, such as injectable fillers like Juvederm or Bellafill, is important to determine. Your skin type, skin thickness, and degree of wrinkling all play a role in determining whether Botox will be effective for you.
In addition, certain specific medical conditions can exclude some patients as candidates for Botox. A careful history and physical exam of the face will be done to determine whether or not you would qualify. Rare patients may have antibodies to botulinum toxin in which case Botox will be ineffective. In such patients a Botox alternative called Myobloc® (botulinum toxin B) may be appropriate, but we have found that its duration of effect is significantly shorter.
If, after discussing your treatment options in detail with Dr. Pearson, you and he feel that you can expect reasonable improvement from BOTOX® Cosmetic treatments, routine photographs will be obtained for documentation and an appointment can be scheduled for the injection.
- What to expect with Botox injections
Two of the most attractive aspects of Botox treatments is that they are relatively inexpensive and also require no "down time" for the patient. The procedure only takes a few minutes to perform, and requires no bandages, dressings, or ointments afterward. And because Botox injections are done in the office and require local anesthesia at most, patients can resume their normal activities immediately.
After cleaning the overlying skin with an antiseptic, the medicine is injected into the selected muscles of the face using a very fine needle to deposit tiny amounts at several points. By carefully choosing the muscles to treat with Botox, Dr. Pearson's goal is to weaken only the wrinkle-producing muscles while still allowing for natural facial animation. Again, the aim is not to give the patient an unnatural, expressionless look.
Post-procedure, the only patient restriction is to avoid strenuous physical activity for the first several hours after the injection and avoid rubbing the skin toward the eyes. Patients should also note that the paralysis from BOTOX® Cosmetic is not immediate—it typically takes from two to five days for the injection to take full effect. The specific potential risks of Botox injections will be thoroughly discussed with you before your first treatment.
- If botulinum toxin A is such a potent poison, how can Botox be used so safely?
Despite its label as a "toxin", it is exceedingly safe for cosmetic use. The toxic effects of BOTOX® Cosmetic are directly related to its dose. The total dose used to treat the frown lines of the forehead, for example, is typically one hundred to two hundred times less than a poisonous dose. The dose used for crow's feet around the eyes is often even smaller. Moreover, the Botox is supplied from the manufacturer in vials whose total packaged dose is still many, many times less than these dangerous amounts so that even in a case of someone incorrectly mixing the concentration for injection there simply isn't enough BOTOX® Cosmetic present in the whole vial. As a side note, you should know that currently (2018), the only FDA-approved botulinum toxin A's are Botox Cosmetic from Allergan, Dysport (from Galderma), and Xeomin (from Merz Aesthetics). Patients have been seriously injured (some have ended up on ventilators) by unscrupulous practitioners offering illegal forms of botulinum toxin. Needless to say, at Pearson Facial Plastic Surgery, we only offer genuine Botox Cosmetic. Beware of offices advertising "Botox" at a deeply discounted cost...it may not be the real thing!
- Does Dr. Pearson personally administer the injections?
Absolutely! While it's unfortunately true that other practices have their nurse or aesthetician perform the injections, Dr. Pearson believes that patients deserve to have a physician perform the procedure. Key to the safety and effectiveness of Botox is that the person giving the injections is intimately familiar with the neuromuscular anatomy of the face, the dose characteristics of Botox, the recognition and management of potential complications, etc. And after all, you're paying for what is essentially a luxury service. We think that deserves direct care by the doctor.
- Is the effect of Botox permanent?
Once the BOTOX® Cosmetic has taken full effect that effect typically lasts between three and six months before the affected muscles begin to function again. At that time, most patients will schedule time on one of our monthly "Botox days" to be re-injected. Ideally, patients should be re-injected with BOTOX® Cosmetic before full muscle recovery has occurred. In this way faded wrinkles do not have the chance to be recreated.
For more information about Botox treatment and cosmetic facial plastic surgery here in Orange Park and the greater Jacksonville, Florida area, please contact us or call (904) 215-7377 to schedule an appointment.