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BOTOX - Facts you should know

Written by Dr Debraj Shome |Updated : March 12, 2014 2:15 PM IST

BotoxBotulinum toxin, called Botox, is a material that has been known for over a century & used for medical purposes for more than 50 years. Its initial uses were for strabismus (commonly known as a squinting eye), blepharospasm (inability to open the eyes), and cervical dystonia (wry neck). Nowadays it is one of the most popular 'beauty aids' in the world what keeps most people in the media world & glamour industry good-looking, wrinkle free and aids them in looking forever young.

It's the most common treatment for facial lines. The three most common sites for injection are the glabella (vertical forehead lines), around and under the eyes (peri-orbital crow's feet), and forehead areas.

Common misconceptions

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  • Botox is not used for laugh lines

One of the commonest misconceptions is that Botox injections are used for laugh lines (naso-labial folds). Laugh lines are wrinkles that form around the outer corner of your eyes. They are NOT used for laugh lines. Laugh lines are instead treated with Filler injections (most commonly, hyaluronic acid).

  • It does NOT paralyse your facial muscles

A common misconception is that BOTOX actually paralyzes the muscles in the face and gives folks a mask like face! Although, with extreme amounts of BOTOX, this can happen, most physicians strive to inject just the amount that allows the patient to have some limited activity of the muscles, thereby preserving normal facial expressions, but not so much expression that they have over-activity of the areas and resultant lines. Patients should know that BOTOX is not used to keep them from expressing themselves but simply to remove lines. When done correctly, people will not notice that a BOTOX procedure has been performed, but simply feel that the patient looks younger.

The Procedure

For Botox Injections, the patient is placed in a somewhat raised position on the exam table, and the areas to be injected are cleansed. A skin anaesthetic cream is injected at this time. After this, the BOTOX is injected into the desired areas. Typical injection patterns include about 4 or 5 areas on each side of the forehead and 2 or 3 areas on either eye area.

After the procedure

Use your facial muscles

Patients are encouraged to use the muscles injected with BOTOX several times during the next several days (by scowling), as studies tend to suggest that this increases the uptake of the Botox into the muscles and the makes the treatment more effective.

Side-effects very rare

Risks with BOTOX Injections are very minor. The main risks consist of headache, pain, and flu-like illness. Side-effects are rare. These complications are typically very minor occurrences and resolve in a day or so.

Results within 3-10 days!

The results post BOTOX Injections usually start to be noticed within 3-10 days or even sooner. They tend to last in most people for up to 3 to 6 months. As time passes, the muscle activity will gradually return to normal. Botox needs to be repeated post this time. Wrinkles and facial lines come back to as they were prior to the BOTOX injections and do NOT worsen if the BOTOX is not repeated.

In summary, BOTOX Injections are one of the true wonders of modern medicine. BOTOX is used in many diseases and the use of BOTOX to look younger and have a face which is free of lines is set to see an exponential increase.

Dr Debraj Shome is a noted plastic surgeon. Along withDr Arbinder Singal, he is the co-founder of The World's First Global eHospital. You can consult him here.

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