What is Botox?
Botulinum toxin A (BoTnA), commonly known as Botox, is mostly known for esthetics. It can smooth wrinkles, often giving people a younger appearance. It is a purified protein that has several mechanisms and so has it also have many uses. It should be pointed out that Botox, Dysport and Xeomin are all proprietary names for botulinum toxin that can be used esthetically or therapeutically.
What does it do?
It works by relaxing the muscles it contacts and by calming nerves that relay pain messages to your brain. Wrinkles form because certain muscles contract thousands and thousands and thousands of times. As we age, our skin becomes less elastic and so little lines or creases form. By relaxing certain muscles, we can soften the lines in your face, creating a more youthful appearance.
Many people have pain conditions that do not respond well to conventional treatment. Also, some conditions (e.g. neuralgias) are often managed with medications that have undesirable side effects. If a person cannot tolerate these medications or they have stopped working, Botulinum toxin may offer some pain relief.
Where do we use it?
For esthetics, most people use it in the upper face (i.e. the eyes and forehead), but it can be used just about anywhere wrinkles appear. Certain injection patterns have been established, making this a safe and predictable procedure for most people.
It is also used to manage many pain conditions, like neuralgia (postherpetic neuralgia and trigeminal neuralgia), chronic migraine and many muscle pain disorders. It can be used in the jaw muscles to minimize the pain from temporomandibular dysfunction or “TMD.”
Why do we use it?
We use it for esthetics and pain management. If you think you may benefit from botulinum toxin, talk to your doctor or dentist. Ask questions, lots of questions and approach it with realistic expectations.