For many people looking to rejuvenate their skin and reduce some of the signs of aging, Botox has been a dream come true.
Once a secret of celebrities, Botox is now a common procedure for many men and women. This minimally invasive procedure is widely practiced and is an affordable alternative to extensive cosmetic surgery.
Botox is a Protein Compound
Botox, or botulinium toxin, is a protein compound most often used as a prescription injection that reduces the look of frown lines between the brows.
The medication is injected into the muscles between the eyes, relaxing them and reducing the appearance of a furrowed or frowning brow. These injections are temporary and require follow up treatment to maintain the look.
On top of reducing frown lines, Botox is also used to treat severe muscle stiffness in the wrists, arms, hands and fingers. It has been used to treat strabismus, or eye muscle problems, and blepharospam, an abnormal spasm of the eyelid.
Botox injections have also been shown to effectively treat excessive underarm sweating.
Botox vs. Fillers
Many people are unsure of the difference between Botox injections and fillers.
Botox injections relax the muscles and prevent them from furrowing together, creating frown lines. Fillers actually fill in the space in the brow area between the eyes, creating a smoother appearance.
Common fillers include Restalyne, Juvederm, and Zyderm, a bovine collagen. Fillers have been shown to be effective in decreasing the look of crows feet, laugh lines and wrinkles.
Choosing a Botox Specialist
Choosing the right doctor for your treatment is imperative.
Many people claim to be knowledgeable about Botox and capable of delivering the injections. Some even host Botox parties or operate from their homes and offer lower fees than doctors’ offices.
As it is with any medical procedure, however, it’s very important patients go to a certified Botox specialist.
Reputable physicians have a complex knowledge of facial aesthetics and anatomy and have extensive experience in providing Botox treatments.
If you’re looking to confirm your potential surgeon’s claims, there are several questions you should ask when interviewing a doctor or Botox clinic:
- How long have you been practicing? How many times have you performed Botox injections?
- Who will take over delivering my Botox shot if you are not available?
- Will there be someone on call to assist me if complications arise?
- Are there any of your past or present patients available who can give a testimonial to your services?
Candidates for Botox
The best candidates for Botox are men and women who suffer from muscle tension in the face. The ideal patient is in general good health, and is realistic about the scope and results of the procedure.
atients with neuromuscular disorders are usually not good candidates for the Botox injection procedure.
The Botox Procedure
Prior to getting Botox injections, your doctor should go over your medical history thoroughly with you and do a facial examination where you perform some simple facial exercises.
These exercises will help the doctor get a firm grasp of your muscular strength and flexibility. He may also ask about your expectations and goals for the procedure to ensure that you receive the desired results.
Make sure you give your doctor a clear picture of what you expect from the procedure.
The actual Botox procedure itself is relatively quick. The doctor will prep the injection site by cleaning it with a sterile solution.
Anesthesia is usually not used, but the doctor may numb the area to lessen any discomfort. Pain is usually mild and brief. The doctor will then administer several injections into the muscle area to relieve the tension and relax the area.
The entire procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes. Most patients are able to resume normal activities immediately following the procedure. Many patients have their Botox injections done while on their lunch break.
Most patients report that recovery time is very quick and painless following Botox treatments. However, if there is pain following the procedure, a simple over-the-counter medication is usually an effective measure of relief.
If pain persists for more than a day, contact your doctor who will prescribe a stronger pain medication.
You should start to see improvement within days of receiving the treatment. Fine lines will continue to improve for up to 30 days following the procedure.
A drastic change in appearance is usually noticed by the tenth day following the injections. Effects of the treatment last for up to four months, but vary by patient and type of treatment.
As with any medical procedure, side effects may occur and vary in severity.
The most common side effects associated with the procedure include:
- Discomfort in the injection site and/or bleeding.
- Swelling, redness or puffiness in the injection site.
- Blurred vision, drooping of the eyelids or decreased eyesight.
- Dry mouth, headache, fatigue.
- Allergic reactions such as hives, rashes, wheezing or swelling.
- Puffiness and redness in the injection site is common.
Let your doctor know if you have a specific allergen prior to the procedure. If side effects persist, contact your doctor immediately.
As compared to conventional plastic surgery, the cost of Botox is relatively low.
The cost per injection treatment is usually around $450-$500, but this cost may vary according to geographic location and specific specialist.
Some specialists with a more extensive background may charge higher fees for the procedure. It is also important to factor in how many injections you will need to achieve the desired results.
Most patients receive the injections 2-3 times per year, so this will also be a factor in the overall cost of the injections.
Alternatives to Botox
Although many enjoy the benefits of Botox, it’s not for everyone. There are many alternative treatments to erase lines and wrinkles. These include:
Alpha Hydroxy Acidsv(AHA’s). These include glycolic and lactic acids and are available in topical form. They cost less than $100 and can slough off dead cells and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Acupuncture. Traditional Chinese medicine has a number of treatments available to relax the muscles and improve facial tone.
Cosmeceutical Spa Treatments. Many spas boast of cosmetic products that act as pharmaceuticals, drastically reducing wrinkles. Spas report that these treatments and products last longer than Botox treatments.
Free Consultation with a Board Certified US Surgeon
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