Botox cosmetic injections are a popular, non-invasive, facelift technique that plastic surgeons use to help eliminate frown lines, crow’s feet, and those tiny wrinkles around your mouth. Botox cosmetic injections were used off label for many years as they were first developed and FDA approved for the medical treatment of spasms and patients who suffered from paralysis.
In the early 1980’s physicians using the Botox injection for treatment of neurological disorders also recognized that the patients had positive cosmetic changes. They further developed the treatments but had to uses them off-label until April 2002 when the FDA finally approved botox for wrinkles.
The active agent in botox cosmetic injections is the bacteria responsible for botulism infections. This toxin, botulinum is responsible for temporary paralysis of skin, muscle, and nerve tissue. Ingestion of the toxin can cause gastrointestinal distress, dilated, unresponsive pupils, and muscle weakness. However, injection of the toxin subcutaneously does not cross the blood brain barrier nor does it cause the other systemic illness.
The botox cosmetic injections used botulinum toxin A for the temporary paralysis and relief of wrinkles. There are approximately 8 different toxins, seven of which actually cause the paralysis necessary for the cosmetic treatment.
Doctors at Cornell University in New York warn that, although botox for wrinkles is safe and seemingly effective, wrinkles in the adjacent area can form as the body attempts to recreate the same expressions without using the paralyzed muscle. For instance, if Botox is used between the eyebrows (one of the most common areas), then muscle in the bridge of the nose, eyelid, and forehead will attempt to recreate the scowl that originally formed wrinkles. This abnormal use of muscles can often result in new wrinkles. Doctors and patients should be aware of the risks of forming new wrinkles before using botox cosmetic injections for a non-invasive surgical facelift.
The effects of the Botox injection become evident after four to seven days and they last between three to four months. Repeated injections result in muscle atrophy, loss of muscle, which makes the treatments last longer. Other patients become immune to the use of Botox cosmetic injections over time. Current research is being done for approval of one of the seven other types of botox to use after patients no longer respond to the treatment.
The risk of new wrinkle formation can be decreased when physician use an altered pattern of injection. In other words, when paralyzing the musculature, they not only include those responsible for the wrinkles, but also adjacent muscles that might be recruited to form the original expression.
Botox used for wrinkles can also be combined with resurfacing techniques, and dermal fillers to improve the outcome and the patient’s satisfaction with the results. Botox cosmetic injections are more successfully used in the upper face because the specific muscle groups which affect facial expression are more easily located than in the lower face. In the lower half of the face, wrinkles are more often static, non-moving, and caused from gravity and the loss of elasticity in the tissue. Whereas in the upper face, wrinkles are more often caused by motion and movement from the muscle below.
Botox for wrinkles is a safe and effective non-surgical and minimally invasive technique to rid the face of tiny wrinkles and crow’s feet making the recipient appear years younger. This isn’t permanent and does require continual updates to maintain the effect but without the risks of anesthesia and surgical infection.