Botox is a toxin obtained from the bacteria, clostridium botulinum. When used in small amounts, this toxin can do wonders for the skin. In the late 80s, botox was used to treat excessive blinking of the eye and muscle spasms of the neck. It was then noticed that these people who got injected with botox also had reversal of their wrinkles and fine lines. Soon Botox was approved by the FDA for use in cosmetic surgery to treat signs of aging.
Today, botox is probably one of the most commonly performed procedures in all of cosmetic surgery. Botox works by blocking nerves which activate muscles. By paralyzing the muscles, the wrinkles disappear.
Botox injections can be used to treat fine lines and wrinkles in both men and women. Botox injections are usually done as an outpatient and rarely take more than 10-15 minutes. The site of wrinkles is marked and with a very fine needle the injection is performed. The treatment is not painful at all. The results of Botox are not immediate but generally take a couple days to become obvious. There is little downtime and most people can return to work on the same day. There are no extensive preparations required prior to the injections but individuals who have an active skin infection or take blood thinners should refrain from getting botox injections.
After the procedure some individuals may develop mild bruising or swelling, which usually disappear in 24 hours.
Botox is strictly a cosmetic procedure and not covered by Medicare or any medical insurance carrier. The average cost of a Botox session varies but costs anywhere from $200-$500.
In the last decade, many non-health care practitioners have opened up spas and clinics and also inject Botox. There are also reports of fake and diluted botox. To ensure that you get what you pay for, look for a reputable healthcare professional, like me! So in order to prevent any unforeseen complications, choose your practitioner well :)
-- Dr. Dale