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M. David Cole, M.D., F.A.A.D., discusses Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery

Botox: What You Need To Know

girl-139353_960_720Botox is a popular procedure among both celebrities and everyday people. In fact, Botox has been ranked the number one minimally invasive cosmetic procedure year after year. In order to figure out if Botox is right for you, you’ll want to learn everything there is to know about it. Here is a brief explanation of what Botox is and how it works:

Botox is a purified protein called botulinum toxin type A, which is derived from the bacteria that causes botulism. It relaxes muscle areas temporarily by blocking nerve impulses that cause contractions. This in turn softens wrinkles and modifies one’s expression. While we typically think of Botox as being used for cosmetic reasons, there are a number of other conditions it can be used to treat. It can be used to treat muscle spasms in the upper limbs or lower limbs, as well as cervical dystonia, a severe spasm in the neck muscles. Botox can also treat hyperhidrosis, a condition in which one’s underarms sweat severely. Certain eye muscle conditions caused by nerve disorder can be treated by Botox as well. Those who have an overactive bladder or incontinence caused by a nerve disorder can be treated with Botox. Botox is also used to prevent chronic migraines in adults who have them for more than 15 days a month, with each migraine lasting four hours or longer.

Botox injections should always be administered by a trained medical professional, even if the procedure is for cosmetic purposes. The Botox injection goes into the muscle. Doses of Botox should be spaced apart by at least 3 months. Depending on what you are being treated for, the Botox injection can be given into more than one area at a time.

If you’re receiving a Botox injection for an eye muscle condition, you may need to use eye drops, a special contact lens, or ointment to protect the surface of your eye. Ask your doctor for specific instructions.

If you’re being treated for excessive sweating, you will want to shave your underarms approximately 24 hours before you receive the injection. Do not apply deodorants or antiperspirants to your underarms for 24 hours before receiving the injection. Avoid exercise  and hot foods or beverage within 30 minutes before the injection.

If the Botox is being used to treat neck muscle spasms, it may take up to 2 weeks for the symptoms to improve. The greatest improvement may not occur until 6 weeks after injection. For eye muscle spasms, symptoms may improve 1 to 3 days after the procedure. The greatest improvement will most likely occur 2 to 6 weeks after injection.

You may be wondering why multiple injections are necessary. This is because the effects of Botox are only temporary. Within 3 months after an injection, your symptoms may return completely. As you continue to get injections, you may notice that your symptoms return in shorter and shorter periods of time. This may be because your body is developing antibodies to the botulinum toxin. Do not use the medication more often than prescribed. This will result in serious side effects.

There are many helpful uses for Botox. If you’re thinking about getting Botox, talk to your doctor so that you can get as much information possible about whether Botox is right for you.