The bacterium Clostridium botulinum produces a neurotoxic protein called Botulinum Toxin (BTX), a naturally occurring lethal toxin that can be medically used for different medical and cosmetic purposes. Botulinum Toxin type A (BTX-A) available in three forms- Botox, Dysport and Xeomin is the mostly used type for cosmetic purposes while Botulinum Toxin type B (BTX-B) also called as MyoBloc is mostly used medically.
BTX-A use has become widespread after it was approved by FDA in 2002 for temporary improvement of moderate to severe frowns between the eyebrows and the results generally last for at least four months and vary with different patients. Mostly used on forehead lines, crow’s feet (lines around eyes), and frown lines, Botox cosmetic providers can either be a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, aesthetic spa physician or a dentist.
How does it work? How it is performed?
When minute quantities of BTX-A are injected with fine needle into overactive muscles, the acetylcholine release is blocked by preventing the vesicles binding the neuronal membranes and thereby weaken the muscle activity for 3-4 months. Though this technique does not require anesthesia, your doctor might use local anesthesia or a cold pack to minimize the pain.
When used in cosmetic applications 3-4 injections are given into each facial muscle group to release the wrinkles. The overall procedure will take less than 15 minutes. Botox is useful for wrinkles formed from aging but is of no use in those formed due to sun damage and gravity.
However, sometimes people in the age group of 18-25 can get Botox done, to get their brows lifted and nasal creases removed. It is important to understand that there may not be any improvement of the wrinkles in a small percentage of patients. It is important to discuss these issues with your doctor before going for the procedure.
What to expect?
Results from Botox Cosmetic though visible in 3-5 days, will see full results in 2 weeks and last for 4-6 months. Like any medical procedure, Botox Cosmetic has side effects that can result in allergy, paralysis of wrong muscle group and any error in administration can result in bruising at the site of injection, inappropriate facial expression like drooping eyelids, double vision, uneven smile and even inability to close eyelids.
Some of these effects will wear off in 6 weeks while bruising can last 7-10 days. To minimize bruising, one should avoid using aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs at least 2 weeks before the procedure and also apply enough pressure while injecting the Botox. However, the area should not be rubbed for at least 12 hours to prevent spreading of Botox to wrong muscles.
Therefore it is important to get the Botox care from a trained and experienced professional. Allergan, a USA based company manufacturing Botox provides the drug for reasonable prices in India for approximately 6$ per unit that is almost 1/10th the cost in USA.
Botox administration requires specialized training from highly experienced professionals from Allergan before any doctor in India (ophthalmologist or ENT specialist or Dermatologist or plastic surgeons) is authorized to perform the procedure.
An Indian Botox party where the drug is injected cheaply is a myth and one should stay away from them. Though Botox can give better benefits when combined with other procedures like facial lifts, chemical peels etc; external application of Botox itself in a facial is a sham and so does the do-it-yourself Botox kits.
Sometimes symptomatic treatment might be needed if people can get headaches, dysphagia, flu-like syndromes, dry mouth, fatigue and allergic reactions. The procedure is contraindicated in those with previous history of toxin or albumin reactions, neurological problems, pregnant and lactating women, those with egg allergies.
One must avoid alcohol at least one week before the procedure. One can resume their normal activities immediately while following the post procedure guidelines, by lying down for at least 4 hours after the procedure, avoiding heavy exercises, make up, rubbing or massaging for a day or so.