Botox® is the trade name of botulinum toxin. It is a very potent muscle paralyzing agent. Initially used in the treatment of patients with diverging eyes to allow both eyes to focus on the same image, it is now used more commonly to treat facial lines caused by the muscles of the face.
Facial lines can be classified according to their permanence. Some lines are always present, even when the muscles of the face are at rest. Others are seen only with muscle contraction – e.g. smiling, grimacing, closing the eyes or wrinkling the brows. Finally, some are a combination of both – they are always there but are more pronounced with facial animation. Botox® selectively paralyzes the muscles into which it is placed. Thus, by stopping the contraction of the muscle which causes or accentuates a facial line, that line's appearance is lessened. The permanent ones that do not resolve or diminish with facial rest require other remedies. Usually, this means either fillers or surgery.
Botox® comes as a powder and is reconstituted into a solution with saline. Then, it is injected with a tiny needle into the patient. Commonly treated areas are the frown areas between the eyebrows, the crow's feet areas around the outside aspect of the eyelids and the forehead region. Other areas can be treated as well according to the patient's wishes. The muscle paralysis is never instantaneous; usually the results are seen over 1-2 days. The effect of Botox® wears off slowly over months but the result is never permanent.
The most common complication of Botox® is the small amount of redness around the injection sites of the needles. This almost always disappears within hours. Bruising can be seen if even the tiniest blood vessel is pierced with the needle. The more bothersome complications arise if the Botox® is injected or diffuses into muscles other than those that were intended. In this case, temporary partial facial paralysis can be witnessed which can be quite unpleasant for the patient.
Please contact Dr. Campbell's office should you have any questions or if you wish to book a consultation appointment.