Botox Questions and Answers

What is Botox?
Botox has been a very popular cosmetic surgery procedure that over 6 million Americans have benefitted from with regard to treatment of facial wrinkles. It is extracted from the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum. It can be dangerous when used in high doses as this is the bacteria that are also the cause of some food poisoning. When administered in small doses and injected into the skin however, it acts as a safe muscle relaxant.

So how does this procedure actually work?
We first need to understand what causes these frown lines or creases. They are caused when muscles tighten up due to release of chemicals by nerve cells. Botox inhibits the release of these chemicals, which leads to the muscles relaxing and smoothening of the skin. The only care to be taken is that Botox needs to be injected in the right quantity.

How is Botox useful to me?
Well, you can improve the way you look by smoothing frown lines, crow's feet near the eyes, and even wrinkles on the forehead through Botox. It does not restrict natural expressions like frowning or smiling. However, Botox is not effective in smoothing lines caused due to the harsh effects of the sun.

How safe is this treatment?
Botox treatment is safe as long as it is carried out by a qualified and experienced practitioner. As with any surgical procedure, there are some restrictions. Pregnant and lactating mothers should not go for this treatment. Patients who are under medication or antibiotics to take care of cardiac related irregularities or the effects of Alzheimer's disease should also not undertake this treatment.

What is the treatment procedure?
The procedure starts with the doctor discussing the medical history with the patient and ascertaining areas of the face that require treatment. The surgeon then proceeds to inject several small fine needles containing Botox into these areas. You would not require any anaesthetic since the procedure is painless and can be completed within minutes.

What is the recovery time?
You would be free to pursue your daily schedule as soon as the procedure is over and though some patients may report a headache, it often passes after some time. The surgeon may advise you not to lie down immediately after the treatment to prevent Botox from spreading. Do not rub the area, even if you feel an itching sensation. The effect will manifest itself in about 3-7 days and you would be able to see a definite visible transformation. The facial lines will appear smoother and this effect should last for up to 6 months.

What about side effects?
There are no severe side effects that have been reported till now. There is possibility of only a headache within 24 hours of injections around the forehead, and occasionally some bruising may occur. As long as it is a qualified and experienced cosmetic doctor carrying out the procedure, there should be no cause for concern and any mild inconvenience usually passes off quite quickly. You however need to consult your surgeon if you find difficulty in swallowing or find your eyelids drooping.