Botox® has a long record for being safe, effective and providing high patient satisfaction. The discovery of Botox® to improve facial wrinkles was, like many breakthrough medicines (Viagra® and Rogaine®), an accident. Botulinium toxin is a powerful neurotoxin that was originally used by ophthalmologists to treat crossed eyes. Dr. Carruthers, an ophthalmologist, started using the toxin to treat patients with a condition known as blepharospasm. These patient’s have frequent and uncontrollable forceful closure of the eyelids. When patients were injected with small amounts of the toxin their blepharospam improved and serendipitously their forehead wrinkles started disappearing. A few years later Botox® cosmetic was born.
The current Botox® formulation is a highly purified form of botulinum toxin. This medicine inhibits the transmission of information from nerves to muscles, essentially blocking the ability of muscles to function. The effects of the toxin are not permanent and resolve within 3 months.
When used in the face, particularly around the eyes and in the forehead, Botox® can eliminate facial wrinkles. These “dynamic wrinkles” are the result of contraction of the muscles over many years creating wrinkles in the overlying skin. When we scrunch up our forehead, squint or narrow our eyes we are continually adding to the deepness of the wrinkles. When Botox® is used to weaken the contraction of the muscles in these areas the wrinkles start to disappear.
Botox® is most frequently used in the glabella (the area above the nose between the eyebrows), the forehead, and around the outside of the eyes (the crows feet). Weakening of the muscles in these areas can be accomplished with little risk of complication or over treatment. Unfortunately Botox® doesn’t last forever and patients will need to be retreated at intervals of 3-6 months to get the best effect but most patients find the procedure easy to tolerate and very effective.
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