What is Botox?
Botox is technically a neurotoxin. It is used medically to treat conditions such as crossed eyes, movement disorders, and muscle spasms. It has been used cosmetically, to reduce the use of fine lines and wrinkles, for more than 20 years. More than 4 million people have received cosmetic Botox treatments, and it is the most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedure. Because of their popularity, Botox treatments are offered by a wide range of providers. It is very important to make sure that you only receive Botox treatments from a board-certified plastic surgeon. Permanent scarring as well as functional complications are prevalent side effects of poorly administered Botox treatments.
How Does Botox Work?
Botox relaxes muscles by blocking signals from nerves that cause contractions. From a cosmetic perspective, when muscles no longer contract, they also relax, causing fine lines to soften and become less visible. Within a week, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the treatment area are visibly improved. After about one month, the full effects of the treatment are realized. This effect was discovered quite accidentally when a doctor was using Botox to treat patients for double vision. It was actually the patients themselves who discovered the side effect of smoother, younger-looking skin and reported it to the doctor.
Am I a Good Candidate for Botox?
Always be sure to consult with a plastic surgeon. These are just guidelines. Generally, as with all cosmetic procedures, it is recommended that you be in overall good health prior to undergoing treatment. Certain people are typically not good candidates, including people with certain skin disorders, facial scars, or facial muscles that are already weak due to illness, injury, or surgery. The best candidates are healthy, have reasonable expectations for results, and who have fully discussed all existing conditions, including what supplements and medications they are taking, with their plastic surgeon. Cosmetic Botox treatments are generally not recommended for anyone under 18.
Side effects are typically mild and include bruising, redness, and some swelling at the injection site. Occasionally people will report flu-like symptoms. Although they are very rare, serious side-effects do occur. Be sure you ask your doctor to inform you about all of the risks. Rare side effects include, among other things, vision problems, difficulty swallowing or breathing, and vision problems.
Botox should always be administered under a doctor’s care. A dangerous trend has developed lately. Botox parties where treatments are administered at a home as part of a social gathering are gaining in popularity. It is never a good idea to receive any cosmetic procedure when you have been drinking alcohol, which is often offered at these parties. Don’t take chances with your health. Avoid these kinds of environments.
Dr Schutte is a board-certified plastic surgeon. He and his team at Front Range Plastic Surgery are Botox experts. They’re here to answer all of your questions and to help you decide if Botox is the right choice for you. Call to schedule a consultation.