Botox injections are a group of medications that utilize various forms of botulinum toxin that help relax facial muscles and make wrinkles and lines less obvious. They work by temporarily suspending the muscle activity. This toxin is produced by a microbe called botulism, which is responsible for food poisoning. While Botox injections are mainly used for treatment of facial augmentation by improving the appearance, they are also used to treat problems like repetitive neck spasms,
uncontrolled sweating, overactive bladder and for certain cases of crossed eyes. They are effective in preventing chronic migraines in some patients. While botulinum toxin is widely used for injections, newer products like Dysport, Myobloc and Xeomin are also available with slight variations in the dosage required for each product.
How the procedure is done
The procedure may be done in the doctor’s office. The area to be injected is first cleaned. Although most people tolerate injections, some may require injections, cream or cold spray so as to numb the skin beforehand. After this, the doctor administers botulinum toxin into the skin or muscle by using a thin needle. The number of injections required depends on the extent of the area that requires treatment. Some people may feel temperature rise for 24 hours after treatment. Bruising at the site of injection is also common. Though the area treated may become droopy and weak after injections, it improves with time. The treatment takes about three to five days to produce results and full effect may be realised after two weeks. The effect of treatment lasts for about three to four months. In very rare cases, serious problems develop after a few hours, days or weeks after treatment. The problems that require immediate attention include blurred or double vision if the area around the eyes is injected and breathing difficulties if the neck area is injected.
Authored by Dr Shailesh Pandey, ENT Specialist
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