Botox (botulinum toxin) is an injectable treatment which can temporarily improve the look of crow’s feet and frown lines between the eyebrows. Botox is actually a brand name for a neurotoxin protein that is produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum.
Originally approved by the FDA in the 1980’s, Botox was used for treating disorders such as blepharospasm (uncontrollable spasm of the muscle that controls the eyelids) and strabismus, or lazy eye. Since then, it has also been used for treating muscle stiffness, spasms, and even bladder issues and migraines.
However, it’s most known for its more aesthetic purposes; Botox has shown success in treating wrinkles and facial lines by blocking the muscles that control facial movement and wrinkles. By selectively paralyzing selected muscles that cause skin wrinkling, Botox can make the skin appear smoother and softer. Botox injections are not fillers and do not work on static lines. Instead, they are used to treat dynamic wrinkles associated with facial expressions.
Why Have Botox?
Botox has been a popular choice of treatment for reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Those who are commonly in the public eye, such as celebrities, commonly turn to Botox to appear younger and more relaxed on camera. Botox may also help to prevent the onset of wrinkles and lines, especially in areas where the face moves a lot, such as the corners of the eyes and forehead. Botox can even be used to stop excessive sweating.
Many people feel self-conscious because of the appearance of their skin. Botox injections are a good way to improve the appearance of dynamic wrinkles, providing a boost in confidence. Botox can reduce the appearance of frown lines, crow’s feet, and other wrinkles that can make someone feel unattractive or older than they are.
Botox treatment is a very quick, in-office procedure. It only takes a few minutes and requires no local anesthesia. Botox is injected into specific muscles with a fine needle. There is little discomfort when having the procedure done, but there are options in case a patient does experience pain from the injections, including numbing medication that can be injected. There is also a cream that can be applied 60-90 minutes before the procedure, or a blast of cold air which can numb it.
It is recommended to avoid alcohol for at least a week before treatment. There may be some temporary bruising after injection, so it’s advised to avoid any aspirin, ant-inflammatory medications and fish oil to reduce this risk. The effects of Botox will last from three to four months. After this time period, muscle action will began to return and lines will began to reappear. However, repeated treatments may actually make certain lines and wrinkles appear less severe as the muscles are trained to relax.
Besides bruising, there is a small chance of headaches, which typically end within 24-48 hours. A very small percentage of people can develop eyelid drooping, which usually resolves within three weeks. This can happen if the Botox moves from the injection site and spreads into the soft tissues of the upper eyelid, so it is advised to avoid rubbing the treated areas for about 24 hours after the injection.
Are You A Candidate?
The ideal candidates for Botox injections are anyone who is between the ages of 18 and 65, in good overall health, and have dynamic wrinkles like frown lines or crow’s feet. The candidate will also be thoroughly educated in the treatment and have realistic expectations for the results.
Those who should avoid Botox are people who have a neurological disorder or a disease that affects the nerves or muscles. Also, anyone with an allergy to Botox ingredients or any skin infections near the treatment area should avoid injections. Botox is not recommended for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or immediately planning to become pregnant.
How long will the procedure last?
As mentioned, Botox in a very quick procedure and only takes a few minutes to perform.
What can I expect after the procedure?
There are only a few minimal side effects after receiving Botox injections, including headaches and bruising, eyelid drooping, crooked eyebrows or smiles, and dry eyes or excessive tearing. Any side effects will typically resolve within a few days. It should cause no other problems that would disrupt work or home life. The only limitations would be to avoid lowering the head for roughly two hours after injections, so avoid yoga or napping after receiving Botox treatments.
Botox is not an instant fix. It may take several hours to several days for the full effect to sink in. The results will depend on the depth of wrinkles and how long they have been there.
Are there risks?
As with any medical or cosmetic procedure, there are risks associated with Botox injections. However, the risks are extremely low when injections are performed by an experienced doctor in a certified facility.
Although it is very rare, there is a slight chance of experiencing botulism-like symptoms. This could occur if the botulinum toxin spreads to other parts of the body. Symptoms of botulism include muscle weakness, trouble breathing, speaking or swallowing, loss of bladder control, or vision problems. It’s important to see a doctor immediately if any of these symptoms occur, or if the patient experiences any rashes or other localized reactions to the injections.
There is also a potential risk to anyone who has an allergy to eggs, since the Botox material is prepared with an egg base. It’s important to discuss any medications such as blood thinners, with Dr. Walton before the injections to determine if there will be any adverse reactions. Blood thinners can increase the risk of bleeding or bruising.
There is also a risk of allergic reaction to the preservatives and other ingredients in Botox. Some of these reactions will cause itching, swelling, redness, and feeling faint.
It’s very important to thoroughly research the surgeon and facilities before choosing to have Botox injections.
How soon can I return to work?
Since Botox is such a quick procedure with minimal side effects, it’s possible to return to work immediately, especially in the absence of bruising or other reactions to the injections.
For an appointment, please call Grace at our Chicago plastic surgery office at 312-337-7795 or fill out the contact form in this page. We look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve your image transformation here in Chicago.