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Botox injections

Botox is a brand name for the medicines that use the different forms of botulinum toxin to weaken or paralyze certain muscles, or sometimes block certain nerves. Botox is produced by a bacterium known as Clostridium botulinum. If used in very large amounts, it can result in muscle paralysis called botulism, which is also related to the food poisoning. Primarily, the Botox injections were used to decrease the appearance of wrinkles on the face, but nowadays these are also used to treat some problems like cervical dystonia (repetitive neck spasms), hyperhidrosis (an excessive amount of sweating), problems related to crossed eye and overactive bladder. In some people with migraine problems, Botox injections may also be of great help. Botox was the first medicine to utilize various forms of botulinum toxin. Now a days, multiple new products like Myobloc, Dysport and Xeomin, utilizing the forms of botulinum toxin, have come into the market. All these products vary from each other, especially in dosage and hence, cannot be replaced with the one another.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Botulinum toxin injections block certain chemical signals from nerves, mostly signals that cause muscles to contract. The most common use of these injections is to temporarily relax the facial muscles that underlie and cause wrinkles, such as:

  • Frown lines between the eyebrows
  • Crow's-feet, the lines that fan out from the corners of the eyes
  • Forehead furrows, the horizontal lines that form when you raise your eyebrows
  • In addition to these cosmetic procedures, which simply improve your appearance, botulinum toxin injections have also been used to treat conditions that affect how your body functions. Examples include:

    • Cervical dystonia. In this painful condition, your neck muscles contract involuntarily causing your head to twist or turn into an uncomfortable position.
    • Lazy eye. The most common cause of lazy eye is an imbalance in the muscles responsible for positioning the eye. This can result in crossed eyes.
    • Muscle contractures. Some neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, can cause your limbs to pull in toward your center. In some cases, these contracted muscles can be relaxed with botulinum toxin injections.
    • Hyperhidrosis. In this condition, excessive sweating occurs even when the temperature isn't hot and you're not exercising. In some people, the sweat literally drips off their hands.
    • Chronic migraine. If you experience migraines more than 15 days a month, botulinum toxin injections may help reduce headache frequency.
    • Bladder dysfunction. Botulinum toxin injections can also help reduce urinary incontinence caused by an overactive bladder.

    Botox injections are relatively safe when performed by an experienced doctor. The most common side effects include swelling or bruising at the injection site, headache or flu-like symptoms. If the injections aren't placed correctly, the medication may spread into adjacent tissues and cause problems such as:

    • Eyelid droop
    • Cockeyed eyebrows
    • Crooked smile
    • Dry eye or excessive tearing

    Although very unlikely, there is a possibility that the effect of botulinum toxin may spread to other parts of the body and cause botulism-like signs and symptoms. Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these effects hours to weeks after receiving Botox:

    • Muscle weakness all over the body
    • Vision problems
    • Trouble speaking or swallowing
    • Trouble breathing
    • Loss of bladder control

    Doctors generally recommend against using Botox when you're pregnant or breast-feeding, since the effects on the baby aren't known.

    Select your doctor carefully

    Botox must be used only under a doctor's care. It can be dangerous if it's administered incorrectly. Ask for a referral from your primary care doctor or look for a doctor who specializes in your condition and who has experience in administering Botox treatments. A skilled and properly certified doctor can advise you on the procedure and can help determine if it best suits your needs and health.

    Your doctor will need to know if you've received any type of botulinum toxin injections within the past four months. If you take blood thinners, you may need to forgo these medications for several days before your injection, to reduce your risk of bleeding or bruising. Your doctor also needs to know if you take muscle relaxants, sleeping aids or allergy medications.

    Before the procedure

    Although most people tolerate the injection discomfort well, you may want your skin to be numb beforehand. Several options are available, including:

    • Injections. Your doctor can inject a numbing medication into your skin.
    • Cream. A prescription cream can be applied 60 to 90 minutes before the procedure.
    • Cold spray. A blast of very cold air is directed at the skin for about 10 seconds. The numbness only lasts a few seconds.

    During the procedure

    Your doctor uses a thin needle to inject tiny amounts of botulinum toxin into your skin or muscles. The number of injections needed depends on many factors, including the extent of the area being treated. Botox injections are usually done in a doctor's office.

    After the procedure

    Expect to resume your normal daily activities right after the procedure. Take care, though, not to rub or massage the treated areas. This can cause the toxin to migrate to a different area.

    • The doctor advises a follow-up visit to examine the area and effect of the Botox injection on the patient.
    • The doctor examines the patient carefully for any signs of the problem after giving injections.
    • Usually, the Botox injections are safe, if received by an experienced doctor. However, the physician closely monitors the side effects related to the procedure.
    • The effects of Botox injections are usually observed after a few days of receiving the treatment.
    • Depending on the type of condition treated, the effect of the botulinum toxin may last for 3 months to 1 year. If the patient wants the effect to stay for longer periods, then repeated follow-up Botox injections are required to be given. However, after a few sessions of Botox injections, the wrinkles appear less severe as every injection of botulinum toxin is training the muscles to relax.




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