Botox Injections – Benefits, Cost & Side Effects

    Botox

Botox was introduced to the world in the late 1980s by ophthalmologists, who began using it to treat optic muscle disorders. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines) in 2002, and its popularity has soared ever since. Botox is consistently one of the top five nonsurgical cosmetic procedures performed each year.

In addition to glabellar lines, Botox is used to eradicate crow’s feet, frown lines, and furrows in the forehead. It is also approved to treat a variety of medical conditions, including ocular muscle spasms, problems with eye coordination, severe armpit perspiration, migraine headaches and urinary incontinence related to nerve damage from conditions such as multiple sclerosis and spine injury. Botox is being studied to determine if it might be useful in treating conditions such as knee and hip osteoarthritis, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)  and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

 

How Botox Works

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Unlike soft tissue fillers (such as Juvederm that add volume to skin depressions), Botox blocks the release of a chemical called acetylcholine which triggers the muscle contractions that create wrinkles.

Botox essentially paralyzes the muscles and stops them from contracting. Results are visible within one week after treatment and remain for a minimum of three months.  


The Botox Procedure

Botox should only be injected with sterile instruments in a doctor's office or a medical spa — not at Botox parties at your local nail salon or neighbor's living room.  You may feel some minimal discomfort from the shot, but today's needles are so thin and fine that the procedure is often painless.  Depending on the extent of treatment, the procedure can take anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes.

Selecting the correct injection points is critical to the success of the procedure.  Your doctor or trained aesthetician will likely select numerous injection points for each location to be treated. (These points are located where the muscle contracts — not necessarily at the wrinkle you are hoping to erase.) The Botox filler is then injected into the marked points beneath the skin.

You can resume normal activities immediately, but your doctor may advise you to stay out of the sun.

Botox Side Effects

The most common side effects of Botox include headache, nausea, flu-like symptoms and redness and pain at the injection site. Infrequently, patients experience muscle weakness or drooping of the upper eyelid muscles. This side effect usually resolves within days. In rare cases, however, upper eyelid drooping may last for months.

The FDA now requires black box labeling on Botox and similar products such as Dysport and Xeomin to warn of rare but potentially life-threatening swallowing and breathing complications if the toxin spreads beyond the injection site. None of these complications have occurred in people using Botox for cosmetic reasons and the FDA states that cosmetic use of Botox appears to be safe.

 

Alternative and Additional Treatments

There may be alternative treatment options, depending on your condition. Other minimally invasive procedures include dermal fillers (such as Juvederm). For severe wrinkling, surgical procedures may be more appropriate.


Additional treatments  may be  recommend for you to consider in conjunction with Botox. These might include chemical peels, microdermabrasion or laser skin rejuvenation or resurfacing.

 

Botox Cost

The cost for Botox depends on the number of areas treated and may range from $160 to $400 per treatment area.  It is common for the cost of Botox to be quoted by the price per unit.  Each treatment area usually takes between 12-30 units.  Med Spa at ACWH charges $11/unit.  Multiple areas may be treated at one time, and repeat treatments are needed every three to four months, on average. When it comes to Botox and other injectables, you get what you pay for. Buyers beware: bargain Botox may increase your risk of complications, including poor cosmetic results. If the cost is prohibitive, financing options are available via Care Credit.