What is Botox®?
Botox is an injectable treatment for fine lines and wrinkles often found on the face. Botox is comprised of botulism toxin type A, which, when injected into the muscle, prevents the muscle from moving which causes lines and wrinkles at the corners of the eyes, between the brows, and horizontally across the forehead. Most facial expressions involve muscles that act in opposition, so paralyzing a muscle that might pull down the corner of the mouth can result in a happier appearance, and the same is true of the forehead region. The injection is minimally invasive and does not require downtime from the patient. In addition to signs of aging, Botox can also be used to provide balance to facial asymmetry.
Who is a Candidate?
A candidate for Botox could be someone who is looking prevent lines from forming in the expressive areas of the face or someone who is already seeing signs of aging or asymmetry. The treatment is relatively painless and is well tolerated by patients, making it suitable for most, regardless of age. Many patients are best served to begin Botox treatments in their late 20’s or early 30’s before the wrinkles have a chance to become permanent, even at rest. At the same time, patients who are more advanced in age may find Botox treatments ineffective if the wrinkles have been present for decades. Since a needle is used to pierce the skin and inject the product, bruising can occur, which should be taken into consideration before an important event. Be sure to tell your injector if you have been taking aspirin, ibuprofen or blood thinners which will increase the risk of bruising. Other side effects are uncommon and will be discussed prior to treatment, but if you are experiencing any other side effects, contact Dr. Sweat’s office with any concerns.
The result from Botox treatment is a more balanced and refreshed appearance. Lines that were once more obvious may be softened and asymmetry can be corrected. There is no downtime associated with Botox other than some slight redness at the injection site which usually subsides within 5-10 minutes. Dr. Sweat usually advises his patients to avoid heavy exercise after treatment for 12 hours. It is important to understand that Botox works to paralyze the muscles that cause wrinkles, but deep or etched lines may only be slightly softened or may require multiple treatments to soften. At times, Botox is combined with dermal filler to treat deep wrinkles that are present even when the muscle is not active; the dermal filler will fill the wrinkle and the Botox will prevent the wrinkle from returning. Generally, you will not see the effects of Botox on the muscle for 36-48 hours and maximal effect is not achieved for upwards of two weeks. If, after a couple of weeks, you have some concerns about asymmetry or residual movement, it is important to come back to the office to be re-evaluated, as touchups are sometimes necessary, especially in patients that are new to the practice.
Results last anywhere between three and six months on average, but is important to understand that slight movement will occur sooner, and full muscle movement will return within the 3-6 month window. The longevity of your results depends on your age, the condition of your skin, the rate of metabolism of the Botox by your body, and the strength of the dose administered as well as how long the patient has been receiving Botox. A muscle that has been paralyzed repeatedly over the course of many years will eventually lose strength and bulk. It is generally inadvisable to inject Botox more often than every 3 months unless a touch up is needed after the two weeks for maximal effect.