Throughout history, people have looked for ways to achieve a younger, more vibrant look by improving their facial appearance. A new procedure using Botulinum Toxin or BOTOX® Cosmetic, has been developed to treat the aging face by removing wrinkles. This procedure, sometimes referred to as cosmetic denervation, has been widely used and is considered a safe, effective way of treating aging skin. It is used to eliminate or reduce worry and frown lines, “crow’s feet”, laugh lines, and other wrinkles sometimes called dynamic wrinkles.
The procedure works by physiologically weakening facial muscles beneath the skin that are related to expression lines. The contractions of those muscles result in wrinkles. BOTOX® Cosmetic works by blocking the impulses from the nerve to the facial muscles, thereby relaxing them. The result is that the pull of the underlying facial muscles relax, causing the skin to flatten. This results in a smooth, unwrinkled look.
Prior to Treatment
Some physicians may recommend avoidance of alcoholic beverages, anti-inflammatory medications, and aspirin one week prior to treatment.
A sedative or local anesthetic is not used, because the pain associated with the procedure is minimal. A small amount of discomfort is felt when the needle is inserted and the liquid injected. This sensation lasts approximately 5 seconds.
BOTOX® Cosmetic is injected into various locations on the face. The needle is extremely small, and only a tiny amount of liquid is injected at one time.
Because there is no sedative or anesthetic used, patients can return to normal activities immediately after the procedure. The physician may recommend that the patient not lie down for 3 or 4 hours following treatment. Some facial exercises may be recommended. The treatment takes three to five days to take effect and lasts from three to six months.
When the toxin begins to wear off, the wrinkles begin to reappear. However, they frequently are not as deep as the original ones. It usually takes two or three injections each year to maintain the smooth, youthful appearance that is desired. Clinical studies suggest that, after several rounds of treatment, the patient may require injections less often.
Possible Side Effects
There are no serious side effects associated with this treatment. There may be a small amount of bruising around the treated areas, however, this is temporary. There are no other visible signs of the treatment.
On rare occasions, the needle may puncture a blood vessel which can result in a black and blue bruise around the treated area. This disappears in a few days. Another side effect that occurs only rarely is a slight drooping of the eyebrow or upper eyelid. Fortunately, when this occurs, it corrects itself in two to three weeks.
Prior to treatment, the physician discusses with each patient the side effects connected with the procedure.
The Best Candidates For The Procedure
The best candidates for the procedure are those between the ages of 30 and 60. In many cases, wrinkles in people over 60 are not caused by muscle pull but rather by sun damage; however, each person is different and must be evaluated by the physician.
Some wrinkles of the face are not caused by the muscles pulling on the skin, and therefore are not disposed to this treatment. These include wrinkles caused by the structure of the skin which are the result of trauma, scarring, or sun damage. The procedure works best on the wrinkles appearing in the upper one-third of the face, because its use on the lower two-thirds might cause distortion of a person’s smile or facial expression.
What Results Can Be Expected?
This procedure will smooth wrinkles that are caused by frown and worry lines, “crow’s feet”, and laugh lines; however it is not designed to take the place of the standard facelift or other facial surgical procedures. It is often used in conjunction with other procedures.
BOTOX® Cosmetic injections may not be suitable for persons with pre-existing medical conditions or allergies. The physician will take a complete medical history to determine if the patient is a good candidate for the treatment.
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