Friday, October 14, 2016

Everything You Wanted to Know about Botox But Were Too Afraid To Ask

What are Botox and Dysport and how do they work?
Botox and Dysport are both purified proteins of botulinum toxin A, which is derived from the bacteria that causes botulism. They cause temporary paralysis of muscles at the site of local injection by preventing communication between nerves. When used cosmetically, they cause relaxation of facial muscles, which helps soften, eliminate, and prevent wrinkles.

What is the difference between Botox and Dysport?
Botox and Dysport are slight variations of botulinum toxin A. Both are equally as efficacious. Dysport tends to diffuse further locally, which may be more beneficial when treating certain areas like the Crow’s feet. Botox and Dysport units are not equivalent. One Botox unit is equivalent to 2-3 units of Dysport. As such, Dysport is priced much lower per unit but requires more units.

Is it safe?
Using a bacterial-derived toxin may sound scary, but remember, penicillin is derived from fungus! Botox/Dysport have been used safely for decades. Botox was originally created to treat eyelid spasms and strabismus and is currently used for many other indications in medication such as muscle spasms and migraine headaches. Side effects are typically minimal. The major side effect from cosmetic use is a small bruise at the injection site, which typically resolves within a few days. Patients with a history of certain neurologic disorders, such as myasthenia gravis, which already predisposes to muscle weakness, should not have neurotoxin injections. Serious side effects of more extensive muscle weakness and difficulty swallowing have not been reported with cosmetic doses of neurotoxins, but rather with off-label uses requiring large volumes. Patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not have Botox/Dysport treatment due to lack of safety evidence.

How quickly will I notice a difference?
The effect is not immediate. You will notice a weakening of the muscles in the treated areas over the next few days after treatment. The full effect can take 10-14 days.

How long does it last?
Botox/Dysport treatment is not permanent as the effect of the toxin eventually wears off as the nerves regain function. The effect typically takes around 4-6 months to wear off.

Which areas can be treated with Botox/Dysport?
Botox and Dysport are approved for cosmetic treatment of the frown lines between the eyebrows and crow’s feet, but they are also commonly used to treat forehead wrinkles, certain upper lip wrinkles, “gummy” smiles, and enlarged masseter muscles. They are not used to fill in lines and wrinkles or add volume to the face, rather this is done with fillers like Restylane or Juvederm.

How bad does it hurt?
We use a very small needle to inject, so the pain is minimal and the result is totally worth it!

Should I wait a few years for my wrinkles to get worse before starting Botox/Dysport?
I often have patients tell me that they are waiting for their wrinkles to get worse before trying Botox/Dysport. Unfortunately, once wrinkles reach a certain depth and become more static, they may soften but not completely disappear with Botox/Dysport. Starting Botox/Dysport treatments when wrinkles are more superficial and dynamic halts wrinkle progression and even prevents new wrinkle formation. Starting early has its advantages!

Is my face going to look “frozen”?
In the hands of an experienced injector, the answer is no. We want our patients to look natural and attempt to use the least amount of neurotoxin to get the optimal results. 

How much Botox/Dysport will I need?
This depends on the areas being treated, and the strength of your muscles. Again, we try to use the least number of units to accomplish the goal of giving you a natural, more youthful look. We would be happy to consult with you to assess your personal needs!

Trick or Treat yourself to a little Botox this Halloween!

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