Overview

Botox injections are of interest primarily for their ability to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles. They have also been used to treat conditions such as neck spasms (cervical dystonia), hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), overactive bladder and amblyopia. Botox injections may also help prevent chronic migraines.

Botox injections use a toxin called onobotulinumtoxin A to temporarily block muscle movement. This toxin is produced by the microorganism that causes botulinum toxin, a form of food poisoning.

Botox was the first drug to use botulinum toxin. Other products now include abobotulinumtoxinA (Dysport), rimabotulinumtoxinB (Myobloc), and incobotulinumtoxinA (Xeomin). Each is somewhat different, especially when it comes to dosage units, so they are not interchangeable.

Why it’s important

Botulinum toxin injections block certain chemical signals in the nerves, mainly those that cause muscles to contract. The most common use for these injections is to temporarily relax the facial muscles that cause wrinkles to appear around the forehead and eyes. Botox injections are also used to treat conditions that affect body function. Examples include.

– Cervical dystonia. In this painful condition, your neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing your head to twist or turn into an uncomfortable position.

– Lazy eye syndrome. The most common cause of lazy eye syndrome is an imbalance in the muscles responsible for positioning the eyes.

– Muscle contractures. Some neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, can cause your limbs to pull closer to your center. In some cases, these contracted muscles can be relaxed with botulinum toxin injections.

– Hyperhidrosis. In this condition, excessive sweating can occur even when the temperature is not high and you are not exerting yourself.

– Chronic migraine. If you have migraines more than 15 days a month, Botox injections may help reduce the frequency of headaches.

– Bladder dysfunction. Botox injections may also help reduce urinary incontinence caused by overactive bladder.

– Eye twitching. Botox injections may help relieve contractions or twitching of the muscles around the eyes.

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Risks

Botox injections are relatively safe if performed by an experienced physician. Possible side effects and complications include.

– Pain, swelling or bruising at the injection site

– Headache or flu-like symptoms

– Droopy eyelids or crooked eyebrows

– Crooked smile or drooling

– Dry eyes or excessive tearing

Although unlikely, it is possible for the injected toxin to spread through your body. If you notice any of these effects within hours to weeks after receiving Botox, call your doctor immediately.

– Muscle weakness

– Vision problems

– Difficulty speaking or swallowing

– Breathing problems

– Loss of bladder control

Doctors generally recommend against using Botox during pregnancy or breastfeeding. People who are allergic to milk proteins should also not use Botox.

Choose your doctor carefully

Botox should only be used under the supervision of a doctor. To avoid side effects, it is important that the injections are administered accurately. Botox treatment can be dangerous if it is not done correctly. Ask your primary care physician for a referral or find a doctor who specializes in your condition and has experience performing Botox treatments.

A skilled, properly certified physician can advise you on the procedure and help determine if it is best for your needs and health.

How you can prepare

Tell your doctor at ma360 if you have had any type of Botox injections within the past four months. Also tell your doctor if you take muscle relaxants, sleeping pills or allergy medications. If you take blood thinners, you may need to stop taking them a few days before the injection to reduce the risk of bleeding or bruising.

What you can expect

Before surgery

Most people do not feel much discomfort during the procedure. However, you may want to have your skin numbed beforehand, especially if you are being treated for excessive sweating in the palms of your hands or feet. Your surgeon may use one or more of the available methods to numb the area, such as local anesthesia, ice and vibrational anesthesia, and it uses massage to reduce discomfort.

During the procedure

Botox injections are usually performed in your doctor’s office. Your doctor uses a fine needle to inject a tiny amount of Botox into your skin or muscle. The number of injections needed depends on many factors, including the extent of the area being treated.

After the procedure

Do not rub or massage the treated area for 24 hours. This may help prevent the toxin from spreading to other areas. You may return to your normal activities immediately after the procedure.

Results

Botox injections usually begin to work one to three days after treatment. Depending on the problem being treated, the effects may last three months or longer. To maintain the results, you will need to have regular follow-up injections.