What is BOTOX®?
BOTOX® Cosmetic is a prescription drug that, when injected, temporarily paralyzes muscles. It contains a purified and safe form of botulinum toxin A, which is produced by the microbe that causes botulism. Manufactured by Allergan, Inc., it is used to treat permanent furrows and deep wrinkles in the skin that are formed by the continual contraction of facial muscles.
In addition to its cosmetic applications, it is used to treat a number of medical problems, including excessive sweating, overactive bladder, neck spasms, crossed eyes, chronic back and jaw pain, and migraines.
Applications for BOTOX® Cosmetic
Although originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of eye and muscle spasms, BOTOX® Cosmetic was quickly recognized for its cosmetic value. Properly placed injections of BOTOX® Cosmetic block nerve impulses sent to muscles, weakening them to the point where they cannot contract, and temporarily eliminating moderately severe furrows and lines. BOTOX® Cosmetic is used to treat the following:
- Forehead wrinkles
- Frown lines
- Crow’s feet wrinkles
- Muscle bands on the anterior neck
According to Allergan, BOTOX® Cosmetic has been “extensively researched, with approximately 2500 studies.”
BOTOX® Cosmetic Procedure and Results
Using a very fine needle, BOTOX® Cosmetic is injected directly into facial muscles that are causing furrows and lines. Receiving the injections requires no anesthetic, but some doctors choose to numb the area to be injected with ice packs or a topical anesthetic cream. Results can usually be seen within a few days of treatment, and typically last up to four months.
If I have Botox®, how often must I repeat the injections?
Botox® lasts about three to four months, and the treatment can be repeated as needed. When it wears off, you will begin to notice increased muscle action and some reformation of the wrinkles. It appears that with repeated use, the effect of Botox® becomes longer lasting.
Is Botox® safe?
Botox is used for a variety of cosmetic and non-cosmetic purposes and has been safely used since the early 1990’s. In 2002 the FDA approved it for use of frown lines. There have been many clinical trials and over 400 peer-reviewed articles in scientific and medical journals about it’s use. Though rare, there can be serious side effects. Some people with certain medical conditions should not use Botox. Additionally, some individuals on certain medications should not have this procedure in case it leads to a drug interaction. It is important to disclose your full medical history and provide a list of medication to your doctor before he begins the procedure.
Who administers the Botox® and fillers in your office?
Dr. Fleming administers all of the Botox® and fillers in his office. Dr. Fleming takes patient safety very seriously and understands that if these products are administered incorrectly it can be dangerous to the patient. As such, Dr. Fleming believes that these injectables should only be administered under a doctors care. Although Botox® and other injectables are relatively safe when administered by an experienced doctor, side effects can occur. Typically the reports of serious complications have been attributed to improperly trained individuals performing these procedures.
How can I find an experienced injector?
I can’t stress enough the importance of seeking out an injector with skill and experience. I recommend limiting the search to board certified Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologists. Be wary of anyone who gives injections ‘on the side’. You want an injector who has studied facial anatomy and will customize your injections to your face. An inexperienced injector may inject too much, or they may inject into the wrong muscles. Just a millimeter off can make a world of a difference. Some of these complications from Botox being administered incorrectly by untrained injectors can be very serious, even life threatening. Do you really want to put your safety into the hands of someone who has learned to do Botox during a weekend class? Just because the procedure is less invasive than surgery it does not mean it should be rushed into without proper research and thought.
Will my face look frozen?
We’ve all seen the people with overdone Botox. They look expressionless and strange. Their faces may be frozen, their eyebrows may take on an unnatural arch. It’s proof that you can have too much of a good thing! With my patients the goal is to have them look relaxed and rested. The goal is to eliminate wrinkles, but not at the expense of eliminating all facial movement. I believe in a less is more approach. When patients come to me for the first time seeking Botox, I like to err on the conservative side. Once the Botox has taken effect, if patients want to come in and have a little bit more injected then we can do that. I think this is preferable to injecting too much and having the patient be unhappy with the result and then having them have to wait 4-5 months for it to wear off.
Your face will most definitely have a lack of movement in the areas treated. The goal is to relax the muscles not paralyze them. When done correctly it will reduce the appearance of wrinkles while maintaining some movement and expression. I seek the maximum wrinkle minimization while maintaining some facial expression.
Does Dr. Fleming do Botox® Parties?
No. While they sound like a fun idea, Dr. Fleming sees this as a dangerous trend. Dr. Fleming believes in maintaining the highest level of professional standards for the safety of his patients, as such, he believes that Botox® and other injectables should only be administered in a safe, clean, sterile, clinical setting like a doctors office and not a home, beauty salon or spa.