Also known as BOTOX® Cosmetic, Dysport®, or Botulinum Toxin Type A
Botulinum toxin (Type A) is a cosmetic injection that blocks the nerve signals that cause muscles to contract. This effect relaxes and smooths the look of lines and wrinkles caused by repetitive movements on the face—most commonly, between the brows, crows-feet around the eyes, and horizontal forehead creases. Botulinum toxin is also used cosmetically to balance facial asymmetry and relax tight neck bands, as well as medically to reduce perspiration and to treat migraine headaches and muscle spasticity.
Botulinum toxin can be used to
- Smooth crow’s feet, forehead furrows, frown lines, lip lines and bunny lines
- Diminish neck bands
- Improve the appearance of skin dimpling of the chin
- Lift the corners of the mouth
- Soften a square jawline
- Correct a gummy smile
Smiling, frowning, squinting and even chewing—basically any facial movement—can eventually lead to one of the most common signs of aging – wrinkles. They can make you appear tired or even angry when you are not. One of the quickest and safest remedies to remove wrinkles is an injection of botulinum toxin type A.
During your botulinum toxin consultation be prepared to discuss:
- Your goals
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
Your plastic surgeon may also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Discuss likely outcomes and any risks or potential complications
Botulinum toxin is a nonsurgical injection that’s given in your plastic surgeon’s office.
The consultation is the time to ask your plastic surgeon questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask during your botulinum toxin consultation.
It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
Injections of botulinum toxin may seem like a simple procedure to you, since it’s just a few shots. But it’s actually both an art and science that only an experienced healthcare professional should do.
There are 43 muscles in your face and it’s vital that the person who performs botulinum toxin injections understands and pinpoints the correct spots to optimize your treatment.
A very thin needle is used to inject small amounts of botulinum toxin into specific muscles. By carefully choosing specific muscles, your healthcare provider weakens only the wrinkle-producing muscles, preserving your natural facial expressions.
Botulinum toxin treatment injections usually take less than 15 minutes.
The number of injections you need will depend on your facial features and the extent of your wrinkles. Crow’s feet, for example, usually demand two to three injections. Furrows above your brow could take five or more.
In the hands of an experienced injector, such as a board-certified plastic surgeon, your procedure will seem simple and you will experience minimal discomfort. The injector’s understanding of the muscles in the face and body is essential for a safe and successful procedure.
There are many formulations of botulinum toxin; some are only appropriate for cosmetic use (Botulinum Toxin Type A). Here is a list of both cosmetic and medical conditions that botulinum toxin can help treat:
- Lines and wrinkles
- Facial asymmetry
- Muscle spasticity
- Eyelid spasms (blepharospasms)
- Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating (see perspiration reducer)
- Chronic migraines
- Cervical dystonia
- Movement disorders
- Crossed or lazy eyes
Your plastic surgeon and/or injector will help you determine which botulinum toxin will be best for you.
You may resume normal activities immediately.
Although all procedures have some degree of risk, FDA-approved injections of botulinum toxin are relatively low risk in the hands of an expert injector. The most common side effects are:
- Temporary muscle weakness.
- Redness, irritation and swelling at the injection site.
- In rare instances, patients may experience dry mouth, headache, dizziness, nausea and fever.
- Flu-like symptoms
- Temporary facial weakness or drooping
- Bruising and pain at the injection site
If you have a symptom that is more serious, such as a rash or trouble breathing, please call your doctor immediately.
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your board-certified plastic surgeon, both before and after your botulinum toxin injection.
After the injections you can return to your regular activities immediately; however, strenuous activity is discouraged for the remainder of the day. Redness and swelling that occur at the time of injection usually resolve quickly. Any bruising that might occur will usually resolve over a week or two.
Some quick tips for the best results:
- Avoid massaging or touching the injected area afterwards; this may inadvertently cause the botulinum toxin to spread to an unintended area.
- Lying down or inverting the body shortly after injection can also cause complications.
- Avoid strenuous or vigorous activities for the rest of the day.
- Ask or call the office before taking painkillers or medication.
- temporary facial weakness or drooping.
The cost of botulinum toxin injections can vary. It is based on a few factors such as how advanced the fine lines and wrinkles are, how aggressively you want to treat the areas of concern and therefore the amount of product used.
A surgeon’s cost may be based on the expertise and qualifications of the person performing the treatment, time and effort the treatment requires and geographic office location.
When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for botulinum toxin, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the procedure.
- Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- Were you specifically trained in the field of plastic surgery?
- Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally- or state-recognized accrediting agency, or is it state-licensed or Medicare-certified?
- Am I a good candidate for botulinum toxin?
- What will be expected of me to get the best results?
- Who will perform the botulinum toxin injections?
- Have they been specifically trained in this procedure?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure or treatment?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect?
- What are the risks and possible complications associated with my procedure?
- How can I expect to look over time?
- Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure
- What results are reasonable for me?