Botulinum toxin type A
Botox is a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It’s the same toxin that causes a life-threatening type of food poisoning called botulism. Doctors use it in small doses to treat health problems, including:
- Temporary smoothing of facial wrinkles and improving your appearance
- Severe underarm sweating
- Cervical dystonia – a neurological disorder that causes severe neck and shoulder muscle contractions
- Blepharospasm – uncontrollable blinking
- Strabismus – misaligned eyes
- Chronic migraine
- Overactive bladder
Botox injections work by weakening or paralyzing certain muscles or by blocking certain nerves. The effects last about three to twelve months, depending on what you are treating. The most common side effects are pain, swelling, or bruising at the injection site. You could also have flu-like symptoms, headache, and upset stomach. Injections in the face may also cause temporary drooping eyelids. You should not use Botox if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Why it’s done ( Botox (Botulinum Toxin)
Botox injections block certain chemical signals from nerves, mostly signals that cause muscles to contract. The most common use of these injections is to temporarily relax the facial muscles that cause wrinkles in the forehead and around the eyes. Botox injections are also used to treat conditions that affect how the body functions. Examples include:
- Cervical dystonia. In this painful condition, your neck muscles contract involuntarily causing your head to twist or turn into an uncomfortable position.
- Lazy eye. The most common cause of lazy eye is an imbalance in the muscles responsible for positioning the eye.
- Muscle contractures. Some neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, can cause your limbs to pull in toward your center. In some cases, these contracted muscles can be relaxed with Botox injections.
- Hyperhidrosis. In this condition, excessive sweating occurs even when the temperature isn’t hot and you’re not exerting yourself.
- Chronic migraine. If you experience migraines more than 15 days a month, Botox injections may help reduce headache frequency.
- Bladder dysfunction. Botox injections can also help reduce urinary incontinence caused by an overactive bladder.
- Eye twitching. Botox injections may help relieve contracture or twitching of muscles around the eye.
Risks Of Botox (Botulinum Toxin)
Botox injections are relatively safe when performed by an experienced doctor. Possible side effects and complications include:
- Pain, swelling or bruising at the injection site
- Headache or flu-like symptoms
- Droopy eyelid or cockeyed eyebrows
- Crooked smile or drooling
- Eye dryness or excessive tearing
Although very unlikely, it’s possible for the toxin in the injection to spread in your body. Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these effects hours to weeks after receiving Botox:
- Muscle weakness
- Vision problems
- Trouble speaking or swallowing
- Breathing problems
- Loss of bladder control
Doctors generally recommend against using Botox when you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. And Botox should not be used in people who are allergic to cow’s milk protein.
Select your doctor carefully for Botox (Botulinum Toxin)
Botox must be used only under a doctor’s care. It’s important that injections be placed precisely in order to avoid side effects. Botox therapy can be dangerous if it’s administered incorrectly. Ask for a referral from your primary care doctor or look for a doctor who specializes in your condition and who has experience in administering Botox treatments.
A skilled and properly certified doctor can advise you on the procedure and help determine if it best suits your needs and health.
How you prepare Botox (Botulinum Toxin)
Tell your doctor if you’ve had any type of Botox injection within the past four months. Also tell your doctor 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.
What you can expect
Before the procedure
Most people don’t feel much discomfort during the procedure. But you may want your skin numbed beforehand, especially if your palms or soles are being treated for excessive sweating. Your doctor might use one or more of various methods available to numb the area, such as topical anesthesia, ice and vibration anesthesia, which uses massage to reduce discomfort.
During the procedure
Botox injections are usually performed in a doctor’s office. Your doctor uses a thin needle to inject tiny amounts of botulinum toxin into your skin or muscles. The number of injections needed depends on many factors, including the extent of the area being treated.
After the procedure
Botox injections usually begin working one to three days after treatment. Depending on the problem being treated, the effect may last three months or longer. To maintain the effect, you’ll need regular follow-up injections.