Anti-wrinkle injections are a cosmetic procedure that has been in use for decades now. It’s main use is to remove the wrinkles from the skin. Sometimes people refer to anti-wrinkle injections as “Botox”, “Dysport”, or “Injectables”. For deep lines your consultant may choose to use dermal filler in conjunction with “Injectables”. The substances used in anti-wrinkle injections are dermal fillers and botulinum toxin Type A. This is available in Australia under the names of “Botox” and “Dysport”.
When the toxin is injected into the muscle, it blocks the nerve impulses that are believed to produce contraction of the muscles. As the contracted muscles are treated, the skin becomes smoother and leads to the appearance of a more relaxed face. There is little in terms of age restriction, anti-wrinkle injections can be given to people from 18 to 65. In Australia the cosmetic use of Botulinum toxin Type A is restricted to treat the frown lines between the eyebrows.
Botulinum toxin Type A can also be used for problems related to excessive sweating. It can successfully inhibit sweating and easily solves the problem of excess underarms perspiration. There are many other uses of Botulinum toxin Type A, including treating the problem of being cross-eyed and difficulties with an overactive bladder. However, the main use for which it is well-known is for its cosmetic purpose i.e. to reduce wrinkles on a temporary basis.
The history of botulinum toxin Type A dates back to 1977 when it was first brought into use. It’s actually a toxin of a bacteria named Clostridium botulinum, initially used to treat a condition called strabismus, a condition for muscle problems of the eyes. It was approved to be used as an anti-spasmodic agent in the late 1980’s.
Botulinum toxin Type A was recognised as an anti wrinkle solution when it was found out that people who were treated for unrestrained muscle spasms of the face – with Botulinum toxin Type A – got their wrinkles reduced. The doctors started its use as an anti-wrinkle solution in 1996 and the FDA approved its use as an anti-wrinkle solution in 2002. Since then, its sole purpose and use has been mainly in the removal of wrinkles.
Good Candidates for anti-wrinkle injections?
- Those showing early signs of ageing
- People with frown lines or lines that make them look sad, angry or tired.
- Those who cannot undergo invasive cosmetic facial procedures.
There are certain contraindications to the use of Botox. First you need to tell your doctor about any sort of medication you are using. This is required to prevent cross-reactions. Also, it’s a requirement that you take a skin sensitivity test to the ingredients of Botox. Other factors in which it should not be used include:
- Problems related to neuromuscular disorders
- People with egg allergies
There is a need to suspend the use of some medications if you are using them, such as anti-inflammatories, aspirin etc. Usage of such drugs should be stopped 2 weeks before the procedure.
The procedure of anti-wrinkle injections is quite easy and does not require any anaesthesia, as there is very little, if any, pain. The procedure is simple. The Botulinum toxin Type A solution is injected with a fine needle into the particular areas of the face where wrinkles are more prominent. For other purposes it is similarly injected into the targeted muscles. It only produces a minor discomfort. It treats frown lines, bunny lines and crow’s feet lines. It can however be given to various other locations on the body, not just the face.
Normally it takes 3 to 7 days for the desired effect to take place. The effect of a Botox injection lasts only 6 months and wrinkles begin to reappear gradually. You can again hide your wrinkles with a repeat of this Botox injection. With the passage of time wrinkles and fine lines reappear with less severity as this injection may lead to the muscle relaxation.
Risks and Complications
There are minor risks and complications associated with botulinum toxin Type A. These include pain at the site of injection, flu-like syndrome and headache. Bruising is the most commonly encountered risk, but it is not dangerous. It can easily be prevented if the doctor applies pressure at the site of injection. If it still takes place, it will resolve of its own accord, usually within a week. In very unusual cases eyelid drooping has been seen. Allergic reactions are seen in a few people after injection.
Other risks and complications associated with botulinum toxin Type A injection include discomfort, neck pain, dry mouth, dry eyes, double vision, tiredness, decreased eyesight, swelling of the eyelids, and blurred vision etc.
Though unlikely, sometimes a botulism toxin may spread, but in low doses, this toxicity is almost negligible. It however has found to affect the emotional feelings by reducing the spread of signals from the face to the brainstem centres and amygdale of a brain for the autonomic arousal. The cognition functions may also be affected if injections are given for the treatment of glabellar lines. But this again occurs very rarely.
Q. Does the Botox injection cause pain?
A. You will only feel a slight discomfort as the needle enters into the muscle and it is a bearable pain so people can easily tolerate it.
Q. What are the do’s and dont’s after the BOTOX procedure?
A. Avoidance of touching the area of injection is usually advised. Massaging is also not allowed immediately after injection. Don’t lie down and don’t exercise so the botulinum toxin Type A remains at its site and does not migrate to any other area.
Q. How long does BOTOX injection take to start to work?
A. Normally 3 to 7 days are required for Botox to become fully effective and provide the required effect. In some people however, it may take 2 weeks.
Q. What are the possible adverse effects of botulinum toxin Type A?
A. These are few and rarely occur, they include headache, dry mouth and pain. Allergic reactions can occur, the symptoms including redness, itching, dizziness and swelling.
Q. Who can perform the procedure?
A. It can be performed by the doctor who is trained as well as certified. In some instances a Registered Nurse, under the guidance of a doctor.
Q. Is treatment of botulinum toxin Type A successful for males and females?
A. Yes, it is absolutely effective for both males and females.