Your Botox Questions Answered

BOTOX®, which was once thought of as Hollywood’s little secret to turn back the hands of time, has now become a more mainstream way of treating the wrinkles and fine lines that accompany aging. Yet, many people still have questions and misconceptions about the cosmetic injectable.

What is BOTOX®? BOTOX® is the trade name for a purified protein that is injected under the skin. Botox® works by blocking nerve impulses, which reduces muscle activity and keeps facial lines from forming. BOTOX® is also used to treat hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and migraines. 

Which wrinkles and fine lines are best treated by Botox? Dr. Hurst recommends using BOTOX® cosmetically for wrinkles beside the eyes (“crow’s feet”), between the eyes (Glabella lines) and on the forehead. Because BOTOX® targets the underlying muscles that cause wrinkles, Dr. Hurst does not recommend using it for lines in other areas. Although some patients may be concerned they will get a “frozen” look from using BOTOX®, this does not happen when it is administered by an experienced clinician. It’s important to receive treatment from a medical professional who knows the appropriate amount of product to be used. Following treatment, you will look refreshed and although you will notice a reduction in wrinkles, you will not have a “plastic” appearance.

What should I expect when I receive my treatment? Treatment lasts approximately 10 minutes and patients can resume normal activities immediately following their appointment. A small needle is used to inject the solution in the targeted locations. The product is injected just under the skin and does not burn when injected. Some patients report a small pinch from the insertion of the needle but most patients report little or no dsiscomfort at the time of treatment. Ice may be applied following treatment to reduce the chances of minimal swelling or bruising.

How long do the effects of BOTOX® last? You may begin to notice effects within 24 to 48 hours. Dr. Hurst recommends allowing approximately 10 days to see full results, with some patients not seeing the full effects of their treatment for as long as 2 weeks following injections. Results last up to 4 months for moderate to severe frown lines. If you receive BOTOX® treatments regularly, you may notice the effects last longer as you receive subsequent treatments. BOTOX® Cosmetic is not a permanent treatment. If you discontinue treatment the moderate to severe frown lines, crow's feet and forehead lines will gradually return.

Is BOTOX® safe and what are the most common side effects of using it? BOTOX® is a safe and effective treatment. Most patients have no side effects from the treatment and of those who do, most potential side effects are minimal. The most common side effects include discomfort or pain at the injection site, drooping eyelids and eyebrows, and bruising at the site of the injection. Although other more serious side effects are possible, as they are with any drug, serious side effects are rare.

How much does BOTOX® cost? BOTOX® is measured by units so the price of the treatment depends on the area treated. For example, treating the lines between the eyes, known as the Glabella lines, often requires less product and is therefore less expensive than treating other areas, such as the lines on the forehead. Treating all the lines around and between the eyes as well as on the forehead requires additional product, and therefore costs more. As a general rule, patients should expect to spend a minimum of $250 to $300 for treatment in order to obtain the desired result. We have found when patients opt to spend less, they do not receive the desired effect because too little product is used to effectively target the desired area. However, each patient is examined to determine the specific amount that will be most appropriate for the desired results. 

Are there options other than BOTOX® that can be used to treat fine lines and wrinkles? Yes. Although BOTOX® obtains the most dramatic results because it targets the underlying muscles, Dr. Hurst and his staff recognize that it may be cost-prohibitive to some patients. Additionally, some patients may choose not to use injectables to treat wrinkles. Products such as retinoids can also be prescribed to minimize the appearance of wrinkles, bolster skin's thickness and elasticity, slow the breakdown of collagen (which helps keep skin firm), and lighten brown spots caused by sun exposure. Additional treatments such as chemical peels are also options patients may want to consider. Our staff is committed to working with our patients to meet their desires and needs while recognizing there is no one-size-fits-all option to treat every patient who wishes to address wrinkles and fine lines.

Who should not use BOTOX®?  Do not receive BOTOX® Cosmetic if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in BOTOX® (see Medication Guide for ingredients), had an allergic reaction to any other botulinum toxin product, or have a skin infection at the planned injection site. Those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a neuromuscular disorder such as Myasthenia Gravis, Lambert-Eaton Syndrome or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) should also not use BOTOX®. If you are currently taking or likely to be taking IV antibiotics in the near future your treatments should be postponed.

Author
Candace Hurst

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