What Is Botox?
Botox is actually the trade name for botulism toxin. It is a muscle paralytic agent that is used in very dilute amounts to paralyze certain muscle in the face and body to give the desired effect. Initially, it was medically approved for blepharospasms and achalasia, muscle spasm type of problems in the eye and in the throat. Over time it was found to have cosmetic implications. It is now accepted for use in the cosmetic arena. It is used often in the face to cause paralysis of muscles that cause wrinkles.
How Does Botox Work?
Another great question. Botox as I mentioned works by causing a disruption or an interruption in the nerve signal between two ends of a nerve. In this way, the nerve is effectively paralyzed. This works really well on muscles in the face. Let’s take an example. Go to the mirror and try to look surprised or try to look angry and look at the muscles in your forehead and how they function. Now imagine how that would work if you could not move the muscles. If you could not move the muscles, you would also not see the wrinkles that the muscle contraction would cause. In this way, the wrinkles and the “aging face” would be treated with Botox.
How Long Does Botox Last?
Botox usually lasts between 3 and 4 months. It is unfortunate but the chemical simply gets unattached from the nerve by about month 4. Because of this, every 3 to 4 months, Botox has to be reapplied.
What Are the Possible Complications of Botox Therapy?
Like any procedure, Botox therapy application involves certain risks. There is a chance you may have some bruising especially if you are taking vitamins, Plavix, aspirin, coumadin or some other blood thinner. If you are, you should make the surgeon aware prior to undergoing the procedure. Also, Botox is applied superficially, so you should not undergo heavy activity or strenuous activity for at least four hours after the procedure. This will decrease the chances that the Botox will migrate. If it does migrate, it will usually follow the gravity line down the forehead and cause a mild degree of paralysis to the upper eyelid. This happens very infrequently and in all my years in plastic surgery, I have only seen it once.
How Painful Is the Procedure?
Like any surgical procedure, there is pain involved. Most patients comment that they have a mild amount of pain. Most compare it to being stung by a small needle or bee. The grouping of needle sticks tends to close so there is more soreness than pain. Most patients comment that the pain is usually gone within minutes of the conclusions of the application. I have to be honest and say I have to take the patients word for this since I have never had it done on myself. My nurses though have had it done and they note that the pain is usually very temporary.
How Long Do I Have to Take Off From Work?
Great question. The joy and use of Botox are that it does not need any downtime. Mind you that for the 4-hour window after the procedure we recommend that activity be restricted. However, after that, the patient is usually free to do whatever they need to do. The “downtime” is usually just that 4 hour period.
Can I Combine This Procedure With Any Other Procedure?
Yes. Because Botox is a facial procedure, usually patients tend to combine this with the use of fillers such as Restylane. In this way, Restylane can be used to fill the defects in some parts of the face that make the face look “old.” The Botox treats some of the wrinkles, the ones affected by muscle contraction, while the Restylane affects the wrinkle areas around the lips and the nose. This combination most often proves to be impressive.
Am I a Good Candidate?
Plastic surgery is not for everyone. It involves certain risks like any operative procedure. As long as you are aware of this fact, you can be considered for the procedure. However, in every case, the patient is best served by a thorough evaluation of their history, their body, and their overall expectations. You as the patient have to be realistic and cognizant of what is possible and what is reasonable. Trust me I am from Beverly Hills and I have had the privilege of working with many of the famous groups of plastic surgeons in LA. I can simply tell you there is no magic. We offer an opportunity to help you with surgical procedures in correcting what you may think is abnormal about your body. Also please understand that for many patients no surgery is needed; just a friendly word of encouragement and confidence from the local Texas Panhandle Plastic Surgeon.