Should I have Botox?
Here is information to help you decide
You’ve heard a lot about Botox from friends, on Facebook or by browsing WebMD, but you’re still not sure if it is the right choice for you. Plastic surgeons at Spa Renaissance and Renaissance Plastic Surgery provide the following information to help you with your decision. Always consider setting up a consultation with one of our trained specialists to learn more.
What exactly is Botox?
Botox is a purified protein prepared from very small doses of the bacteria clostridium botulinum, which is present in many natural settings such as soil, lakes and forests. This protein is used medically to treat certain muscular conditions and cosmetically to remove wrinkles.
A common misconception is that Botox is a new procedure. It has been used safely and effectively to treat ophthalmologic and neurologic disorders for more than 20 years. Its first use was for a condition called lazy eye. When doctors saw that it smoothed wrinkles around the eye, that’s when steps were taken to obtain FDA approval for cosmetic use.
In 2002, after years of rigorous testing (Botox is one of the most studied drugs on the market), the FDA approved Botox for the treatment of some muscle conditions such as strabismus (crossed eyes), blepharospasm (twitching eyelids), cervical dystonia (a neurological movement disorder), primary focal hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the underarms, hands or feet), chronic migraines, bladder dysfunction and glabellar frown lines (facial wrinkles).
Botox injections block certain chemical signals from nerves, mostly ones that stimulate muscle contraction. Cosmetically, Botox is used to reduce wrinkles in the forehead, around the eyes and between the eyes, caused by contraction of the underlying facial muscles every time you smile, laugh or frown. In addition, as we age, our natural collagen and elastin gets stretched out, causing fine lines and wrinkles. Botox injections can reduce these lines and wrinkles by temporarily relaxing facial muscle function.
According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, Botox injections are the most popular cosmetic procedure in the US. More than 11 million people undergo Botox treatments.
Describe the treatment process
Botox injections are conducted in a special suite at Spa Renaissance designed specifically for Botox treatments. Only highly trained medical professionals (nurses and a physician assistant) at Spa Renaissance will perform the procedures.
Prior to your treatment, you will meet with one of our specialists who will review your medical history, conduct a facial analysis to determine a treatment most appropriate for you, and discuss the procedure in detail and what you want to achieve.
Tell your specialist if you have had any type of Botox injections within the past four months, and if you take muscle relaxants, sleeping aids or allergy medications. If you take blood thinners, you may need to stop taking them several days before your injection to reduce your risk of bleeding or bruising.
During the procedure, the nurse or physician assistant will use a very fine needle to inject tiny amounts of Botox into your skin or muscles. If you are receiving cosmetic Botox, the injection will go into the facial muscles that cause your wrinkles and lines. You will not feel much discomfort (it feels like a pinch), but you can have your skin numbed before the procedure if you are concerned about the pain. The doctor may use a topical anesthesia or ice to numb the treatment area.
The procedure generally takes about 10 minutes, depending on the number of injections you will need and the extent of the area being treated. For example, the FDA approves 20 units (five injection sites) between the eyes. Most patients only need 12 units (three injection sites) in this area. Units vary depending on each patient, the area treated, the natural strength of your facial muscles and other factors.
For new patients, the medical professional will deliver a conservative treatment at the first visit to ensure the area is not over-treated. At Spa Renaissance, our goal is to diminish your wrinkles, and take years off your appearance while still maintaining natural facial expressions.
After the procedure, you can resume your normal activities right away. Do not rub or massage the treated areas for 24 hours. This may help prevent the toxin from spreading to a different area.
When will I see results and how long will they last?
You will begin to see results within 24 to 48 hours, and they will become very visible in seven to 10 days after the injections. Depending on the area being treated, the effects may last between three to six months or longer. To maintain a wrinkle-free look, you will need regular follow-up injections.
Are there any side effects or risks?
Since knowing the exact amount of Botox to inject is critical to produce maximum results and reduce any side effects, it is critical that you choose someone with specialized training and experience to conduct the procedure. There should never be guesswork during a treatment. The medical professional should know exactly how much to inject and exactly where to inject it.
Possible short-term side effects that will subside within an hour or two are tenderness around the treated area and possible bruising. Other complications – that are rare – can include pain, weakness of nearby muscles, headache or flu-like symptoms, a drooping eyelid, a crooked smile, eye dryness or excessive tearing. These are temporary and should disappear within a few days.
Although very unlikely, it is possible for the toxin in the injection to travel from the injection site to another part of your face. Botox can move about 1 cm around the injection point. That’s why a skilled person must perform Botox – a person who completely understands the anatomy of the face.
If you notice any of these other side effects over the first few weeks, call your doctor right away: muscle weakness, vision problems, trouble speaking or swallowing, breathing problems, or loss of bladder control.
Botox is not recommended if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or are allergic to cow’s milk protein.
The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology reports that Botox is very safe and has few side effects when used therapeutically.
How often do I need Botox?
As the injection begins to wear off, previously treated lines and wrinkles may reappear, but with repeated treatments, the lines often will appear less severe than before because the muscles have been trained to relax.
Botox specialists recommend patients receive treatments every three or four months – ideally before the effects of the injection wear off.
If you cannot have Botox three or four times a year, you still will see results from one or two injections a year.
How much does Botox cost?
Cost ranges between $300 to $1,000, depending on the areas of treatment. Spa Renaissance specialists will discuss specific costs with you during your consultation. Your insurance is not billed.
Most importantly, select your Botox specialist carefully. Check out his/her credentials and meet with the professional you choose before making your decision. Spa Renaissance specialists are happy to set up a free consultation for you. Simply call the office at 248.498.8100.