Botulinum toxin (Botox) injections are used to reduce visible lines and wrinkles. Due to the very low concentration used it is, in fact, a very safe cosmetic treatment. The substance, which is produced in laboratories, blocks nerve impulses to the tiny facial muscles, which normally cause lines and wrinkles when they contract. This prevents the muscles from contracting and the skin is smoothed so that lines and wrinkles disappear in the best achievable way. Untreated muscles are not affected, nor are normal facial expressions.
Wrinkles best suited to this treatment are those caused by muscle use, for example, expression wrinkles. Wrinkles between the eyebrows, horizontal wrinkles of the forehead and wrinkles around the eyes can all be treated with Botox injections. It normally only takes a few minutes to administer the anti-wrinkle injections and, as the needles used are very fine, it is not usually painful. It’s very important that the person doing the injecting is an expert in facial anatomy, as the benefits of the treatment depend on their skill to treat the correct muscles.
Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) can also be treated using Botulinum toxin(Botox).
The length of time that the effects of the injection will last for differs from patient to patient. Initial injections usually last between four to six months. The interval between each treatment thereafter usually increases over time
Botox for cosmetic reasons requires minimal preparation since it involves a nonsurgical and in-office treatment. Ensure that your treatment provider is a licensed physician, a physician assistant, or a nurse. Let your treatment provider know about any medical conditions, medical history, and allergies to make the procedure as safe as possible. To reduce the risk of bleeding and bruising, you need to avoid blood-thinning medicine, such as aspirin. Before the procedure, you need to remove all your makeup and cleanse the treatment area.
Because the procedure does not involve incisions, you are not given general anesthesia. However, if you are concerned about pain and discomfort, your physician may give you a topical anesthetic or ice to numb the treatment area. A thin needle is used to inject small amounts of botulinum toxin into your skin or muscles, such as the area between the eyebrows (glabellar region) and around the eyes (crow’s feet lines). The number of injections administered depends on many factors, such as the extent of the area being treated. Normally, 3 to 5 injections are needed. Note that the result is not immediate because Botox injections normally begin to work one to three days after the treatment. In some rare cases, it may take as long as five days for the full effects to be observed.
Length of Stay in Destination
The whole procedure takes approximately 10 minutes. You may leave the hospital on the same day of the procedure, usually after the effect of sedation subside. However, plan to stay in the area for one day for the initial recovery.
Botox treatments require little to no downtime and some people may be able to get back to their normal routine immediately afterward. However, it is best to avoid strenuous activity and exercise for at least 24 hours. You might notice some redness, swelling, or mild bruising during the first day. Therefore, avoiding strenuous activity can help keep you comfortable whilst your body is recovering. You may also need to avoid heat for the first 24 hours, such as hot showers, baths, sunbathing, or other forms of heat. The heat will increase the risk of bruising post injections.
Your physician will likely give you aftercare instruction, which you should follow strictly to get the best result possible. You will need to avoid rubbing your face or apply significant pressure on it for at least 12 to 24 hour so you do not move the dosage into an unintended area. Rubbing and touching the area may cause nerve damage and undesired results. Try to do some light to medium exercise, but avoid strenuous exercises. Remember that you should not undergo other treatments, including facials, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion, at least 24 hours after Botox injections.
Your sleeping position is also important and although it is hard to stay sleeping in a specific position, it is vital that you try to sleep on your back for the first night. The substance needs some time to settle into your muscles, so lying on your stomach can prevent it from settling properly. If you experience slight pain after the treatment, ask your physician if you can take over-the-counter medication. In most cases, your physician can prescribe some numbing cream. You must avoid strong painkillers. You can apply an ice pack to the area to help reduce bruising, but you should consult your doctor before doing so. After the first day, you can gently exercise the muscles in the area, such as smiling, frowning, grinning, and so on.
The success rate of Botox treatment is extremely high. As time passes, the muscle activity will gradually return to normal, and the effect tends to last between 6 to 12 months. To maintain the results, you may need additional Botox injections.
Although it is relatively safe, possible side effects and complications may happen. These side effects include:
- Swelling, bruising, and pain around the injection site
- Droopy eyelid
- Crooked smile or drooling
- Excessive tearing
- Mild nausea
- Neck weakness
- Double vision
- Hives and rashes.
In the rarest cases, the toxin in the injection can spread in your body and can cause muscle weakness, breathing problems, trouble speaking or swallowing, and loss of bladder control. If any of these symptoms happen, you will need to call your doctor right away.
Alternatives to a Botox Procedure
There are several alternatives to Botox treatment if it is not suitable for you. The options are:
- Dermal fillers, a procedure that can treat visible wrinkles when the face is relaxed. Usually around the mouth and chin.
- Fraxel Laser or chemical peels can treat lines caused by aging or sun damage.
- A facelift is more suitable if your wrinkles are too far advanced for Botox injections.
For an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of Botox Treatments with before and after images, watch this short video.
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