Botox is an injectable medicine, which relaxes muscles of the face that are causing unwanted wrinkling. The treatment takes only several minutes in the office and is a non-surgical way to reduce certain wrinkles without recovery time. While Botox has only recently gained widespread media attention, it has been used for almost 20 years to treat various medical conditions and for over 10 years in various aesthetic applications.
How Botox Works
Botox is a purified form of the substance produced by botulinum bacteria. This medicine binds to the ends of nerve fibers preventing them from sending a signal to the muscles they are connected to. This relaxes the muscles, reducing resting tone. Wrinkles, which are the result of muscle tension, can be treated by Botox injection. The effect is reversible, wearing off after approximately 4-6 months.
What Can Be Treated
Many wrinkle lines in the upper face are not intrinsic to the skin itself but are formed by muscle tension. These include frown lines between the eyebrows, wrinkle lines across the forehead as well as crow’s feet that form during smiling or animation (rather than those present at rest). The goal of treatment is to create a softening of the wrinkles while preserving natural expression. Properly performed Botox treatments will not leave your face looking mask like. Lower facial areas can also be treated but in a much more conservative fashion to avoid interfering with normal function.
What to Expect
On arrival at the office, an anesthetic gel will be applied to the skin. This minimizes the discomfort of the injections. After approximately 20 minutes, the gel is removed and multiple small injections will be made in the areas to be treated. You must avoid bending, lifting or exercise for 4 hours after treatment. A small amount of redness or swelling may result in the areas treated. This usually abates within a few hours. On the day after treatment no effect will be seen in the treated areas. Over the next 4-7 days, the muscles slowly relax as the medicine takes effect. Softening or elimination of the wrinkles follows this. The degree of improvement varies depending on the severity of the wrinkles, your skin type and the duration the wrinkles have been present. The duration of effect is usually approximately 6 months. Muscles may begin to activate prior to this time but retreatment is suggested when wrinkles being to reappear. Complications with this treatment are uncommon. Risks include bruising, allergic reaction (which produces redness), asymmetry, excess droopiness of the eyelids, and formation of antibodies, which makes the medicine ineffective.
Two other botulinum products in the United States are Dysport and Xeomin. These products are very similar to Botox. The specific benefits of one product versus another for your needs can be discussed during your consultation with Dr. Bass.
Click to watch Dr. Bass treat the forehead with Botox