BOTOX® Injections (Botulinum Toxin A)
Botox (Botulinum toxin type A) is a treatment used for muscle spasms, which is derived from a strain of bacteria called Clostridium Botulinum. Botox is the industry name for Botulinum toxin type A.
When Botox is injected into the muscles it reduces spasms by blocking the transmission between the muscle fibres and endings of the nerves. Botox effectively weakens the muscles and causes localised paralysis.
What can Botox be used for?
Botox is injected into the muscles to prevent abnormal muscle function and spasms in people who have conditions that cause excessive nerve stimulation. It works in this case by preventing the nerves from communicating with muscle cells, since when communication is prohibited this causes muscle paralysis and stops the spasms.
It is also an increasingly popular treatment for people who want to achieve a younger looking complexion. Botox can be injected into areas of the face to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and reduce frown lines, which typically start to appear when people reach middle-age. Botox has become incredibly popular in recent years, as people view it as an effective and safe alternative to more invasive procedures, such as a face lift.
The treatment is also used to treat people who suffer from excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), with the injections of Botox inserted into the armpits or other affected areas to prevent nerve signals from reaching the sweat glands.
Botox may also be used to treat migraines. The injections are given into the muscles at the back of the neck, the forehead and the temples, to prevent the production of signals that cause you to feel pain. However, this treatment is only recommended for people with chronic migraines when medication has been unsuccessful.
Who is suitable for Botox treatment?
Trained and qualified doctors or dentists should only give Botox, and an increasing number of dental practices are now offering facial aesthetics services. Botox is generally a safe and useful treatment, but it may not be suitable for everyone. The doctor or dentist will check your medical history and health to ensure that you are a suitable candidate. It is important that you tell your clinician if you are currently on any medication or recently stopped, you are breastfeeding, have health conditions affecting your muscles or nerves or if you are known to have any allergies.
The Botox treatment procedure
The treatment process for cosmetic Botox is safe and simple. Before the procedure your doctor will discuss the areas you want to target and tiny injections will be inserted into those areas. This usually involves targeting the areas around the eyes, nose and mouth, as this is where wrinkles and fine lines tend to develop. The procedure is quick and the injections should not be painful.
When Botox is used to treat hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), injections are inserted into the skin of the armpits.
If Botox is used to treat chronic migraines, the injections are inserted into the forehead, temples and the muscles at the back of the neck.
The Botox treatment procedure is usually very quick and in most cases treatment time is less than 20 minutes. This will depend on the number of injections. It is not necessary to have anaesthetic before Botox treatment and pain should be minimal.
One of the major advantages of Botox is that there is little or no recovery time, and most people feel fine and can return to their normal life immediately..
Results of the treatment vary according to the individual, but frown lines and wrinkles appear reduced within just a few days. The results of treatment should last around 3-6 months and the procedure can be repeated after this time. As the treatment results begin to wear off the lines will start to re-appear, so repeat treatment is required to restore a youthful complexion.
How frequently can you receive Botox injections?
It is safe to have repeat Botox injections and most people have treatment every 4-6 months to keep the results ‘topped-up’. The more treatments you have the longer the results will last, as the muscles responsible for forming creases and frown lines will gradually weaken. However, excessive treatment can cause the body to produce antibodies against Botox, which will reduce its effectiveness.
What is the cost of Botox?
The cost of Botox varies greatly according to the clinic or doctor you visit. You can typically expect to pay around £200 per course of treatment. If you choose to see a doctor with a great deal of expertise or visit an exclusive clinic, the prices are likely to be higher.
Are there any Botox side-effects?
Botox is generally considered to be a very safe procedure, but it is possible for side-effects to occur. These side-effects include:
- Flu-like symptoms and generally feeling unwell.
- Nausea (feeling sick).
- Drooping of the eyelids (this is temporary).
- Facial pain.
- Eyelid twitching.
- Redness and mild pain at the site of the injections.
- Weakness in the muscles.
- Double vision.
- A squint.
It is important to see your doctor as soon as possible if you develop any speech problems, difficulty swallowing or breathing difficulties after having Botox treatment.
Who should avoid having Botox?
Botox is not suitable for everyone, and you should not have Botox injections if you:
- Have an infection at the planned site of the injection.
- Are currently pregnant or feel that you may be pregnant.
- Have allergies to the ingredients found in Botox.
- If you have a condition that affects your nerves or muscles.
- If you are currently breastfeeding.
You should take care when having Botox treatment:
- If you have a disorder that increases your risk of bleeding; for example, haemophilia.
- If you have a history of swallowing difficulties (dysphagia).
- If you have chronic breathing difficulties.
- If you have epilepsy.
- If you have had eye surgery.
Botox is known to react with some other types of medicine, which is why it is important that you inform the clinician if you are on medication (this includes herbal medicines) before you have treatment. The paralysis of the muscles may be intensified if you are currently on any of the following medications:
- Antibiotics, including tetracyclines, polymyxins and lincomycin.
- Muscle relaxants.
- Aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as neomycin, gentamicin and tobramycin.