Botox® has been used successfully for more than twenty years to treat eye muscle spasms and conditions such as cerebral palsy in which muscular hyperactivity features.
When applied as a rejuvenation technique, small quantities of clostridium botulinum are injected into specific facial muscles causing them to relax (or freeze). The muscles are no longer able to flex thus stopping the formation of frown lines, forehead lines and crow’s feet and existing lines are much less pronounced because the underlying muscles are totally relaxed.
Botox® injections are administered using very fine sterile disposable syringes.
The patient will experience very mild discomfort lasting for only a few seconds as each area is treated. Although this treatment is not generally considered to merit the use of a topical local anaesthetic, patients may opt for this if they wish.
A typical treatment of the whole forehead and crow’s feet area takes less than ten minutes.
The vast majority of patients experience no side-effects whatsoever. Occasionally, a small bruise at the injection site may occur which will disappear after a few days and mild headaches lasting a few hours have been reported in a very few instances. In rare cases a reversible condition known as ptosis, heaviness of the eyelids, may occur due to the technique being inexpertly administered. Proper regard to dosages and location of injection in susceptible muscle patterns should avoid this condition.
Provided that Botox® injections are administered by a practitioner with medical training, there are no serious risks. Any side-effects are minor and temporary, as discussed above.
Although research to date has not shown any risk to the developing foetus caused by exposure to Botox®, in the interests of good medical practice I advise that injections are best avoided in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
You will begin to see noticeable effects within two or three days. Two weeks after the initial Botox® injection the beneficial effects become really clear. I aim to see all new patients two weeks after injections to ensure that the desired effect has been achieved. The effect lasts for 3 months in the first instance when the procedure will need to be repeated. If Botox® injections are given regularly, subsequent injection intervals are increased. It is not uncommon to find that after the first year, patients may need Botox® injections for maintenance only once every six months. However the majority of clients will need retreatment every 4 months.
Botox® can be used where muscular activity causes an undesirable pull on the skin on the face or neck. Good examples of these are the ‘bunny’ lines on the nose, vertical lip lines around the mouth “smokers lines”, puckering of the chin caused by activity of the mentalis muscle and the platysmal bands in the neck – the nefertiti lift. Botox® is extremely effective in treating local hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). Treatment of the underarm area will reduce sweating by more than 85% and lasts between 4 and 12 months.
Careful administration of Botox® can lift the corners of the mouth so turning a “sad” into a “happy” mouth.