Botox is a drug made from a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which is called botulinum toxin. Before anyone misunderstands this terminology, let me explain. When spores transform into a vegetative cell and those cells increase, this transformation—called botulism—is a deadly form of neurotoxin. However, C. botulinum is found in an inactive form in the natural environment in lakes, streams, forests and soils. In addition, it can be found in intestinal tracts of mammals and fish. These naturally occurring bacteria typically are harmless.
Botulinum toxin type A, or onabotulinumtoxinA, is one of the more common forms of cosmeceutical treatments. For this toxin to be most effective and with minimal harm, the solution is diluted with a saline and then injected directly into the neuromuscular tissue, most commonly a patient’s fine lines and wrinkles. The botulinum blocks nerve signals that make muscles contract. The ability to interrupt the muscle-contraction sequence is what makes Botox an effective, successful and valuable cosmetic treatment.
The effects of Botox are best seen on forehead lines, crow’s feet (lines around the eyes) and frown lines (glabella lines or “11s”). On the other hand, Botox is approved for many other therapeutic applications, such as chronic migraines, blepharospasm (spasms of the eyelids) and severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), to name just a few.
Treatment usually takes only a few minutes with mild discomfort at the injection site. There may be some side effects, though these are rare; the doctor will discuss these possibilities at the consultation.
Botox generally takes three to seven days to take full effect and may last four to six months. Once the muscle action gradually returns, the fine lines and wrinkles will begin to show signs of needing re-treatment. Some individuals should not use Botox: pregnant or lactating women or anyone who has had previous allergic reactions to the drug.
If you are interested in receiving Botox, please call Carolina Aesthetics at (864) 233-8088 for a free consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons.