Frequently Asked Questions
What is BOTOX and how does it work? BOTOX is made from a neurotoxin produced by bacteria. A neurotoxin is a chemical that affects the normal function of the nerves in your body. BOTOX temporarily disables specific nerves, essentially paralyzing the surrounding muscles. Since some skin wrinkles are caused by repetitive muscle contraction, they fade or disappear when the muscle is no longer able to contract.
What’s the connection between BOTOX and botulism? The bacteria that produces the naturally occurring form of BOTOX can also cause a serious type of food poisoning known as botulism. However, administering small amounts of BOTOX directly into specific muscles or muscle groups allows the agent to be contained and greatly limits the risk of botulism. BOTOX is a safe and effective temporary treatment for certain facial wrinkles.
How does BOTOX differ from cosmetic fillers such as Restylane? While BOTOX is a drug used to block nerve function and relax the underlying muscles, Restylane fills in the tissue beneath wrinkles, plumping and smoothing their outward appearance. Used in combination, BOTOX and Restylane can rejuvenate your skin and restore a youthful appearance to your face.
How should I prepare for BOTOX treatment? Cosmetic BOTOX administration is a simple, non-surgical process, requiring no significant preparation. Your health practitioner will simply ask you a few questions and have you make certain facial expressions to determine precisely where to locate the injections for maximum effect. To minimize discomfort, your doctor may apply an anesthetic cream or ice packs to numb the injection site immediately before treatment.
What happens during treatment? Cosmetic BOTOX treatment is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that can usually be completed in one visit to the doctor’s office. After an initial consultation with the health practitioner or a qualified member of his or her staff, you will be asked to sit in a reclining chair similar to those used by beauticians and dentists. Most people receive between four and ten small doses, injected directly into each desired site using a fine needle. The entire process usually only takes 10-15 minutes, after which you can resume your normal daily activities.
Are BOTOX treatments painful? Some people experience a slight sting from the injection, but there is generally no pain or discomfort following treatment. Occasionally there is minor bruising or redness at the site of injection, but this rare reaction is easily covered with a small amount of make-up and generally disappears within a couple of days of treatment.
What happens after the treatment? You will be able to resume your normal daily activities immediately following treatment,. However, there are a few guidelines you should keep in mind. For 4 hours following treatment:
- Keep your head and neck upright-avoid bending over or lying down
- Do not touch or massage the treated areas
- Use the treated muscles (raise your eyebrows, frown, squint/unsquint your eyes)
During the first 12 hours, avoid strenuous exercise.
How soon will I see improvement? It generally takes a few days (3 to 7) following treatment before you will see the full effects of cosmetic BOTOX injections.
How long does each treatment last? Most people require only one visit to the doctor’s office to complete the entire treatment process. However, the therapeutic effects of BOTOX are temporary and will generally last between three and six months, after which wrinkles will gradually return to their pre-treatment condition. But the good news is that you can safely receive BOTOX injections approximately every four months to maintain your new, more youthful look. And often, subsequent treatments last longer than the original treatment.
Are there side effects? Administered properly, BOTOX Cosmetic is a safe and effective temporary treatment of certain facial wrinkles. However, as with most medications, there is a rare possibility of side effects. The most common include:
- Respiratory Infection
- Flu-like symptoms
- Temporary drooping of the eyelid
- Upset stomach
Slight swelling or bruising is not uncommon following the procedure, but should disappear within a few hours to a few days. In the meantime, you can use Tylenol (not aspirin) and gentle application of an ice pack to treat these symptoms. While such side effects may be unpleasant, they usually are not serious and disappear fairly quickly. However, if these or any other side effects are severe or troubling, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Will I still be able to make facial expressions? Treatment with BOTOX will by no means diminish your ability to make facial expressions. When administered by a qualified physician, BOTOX only effects muscle contraction in limited and isolated regions of your face, and only enough to limit the formation o certain wrinkles.
Who are the best candidates for BOTOX? Anyone between the ages of 18 and 65 who is concerned about wrinkles in their forehead and around their eyes is a candidate for cosmetic BOTOX injections.
Who should not receive BOTOX treatments? You should not receive BOTOX injections if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you have known hypersensitivity to any of its ingredients, or you have an infection at the treatment site. You should notify your doctor if you plan to become pregnant or if you have any conditions or diseases that affect your muscles or nerves. You should also provide your doctor with a complete list of medications you take, including over-the-counter products and herbal treatments.
Can BOTOX be used to treat all of my facial wrinkles? BOTOX is only effective on those wrinkles that result from muscle contraction, or “scrunching” over a long period of time. Many facial lines result from the breakdown or sagging of facial tissue. BOTOX injections will have no effect on these wrinkles. Instead the soft tissue “fillers” such as bovine collagen or Restylane should be considered to address these signs of aging.
Can BOTOX be used on parts of my body other than my face? While BOTOX has been used for many years to treat a variety of medical conditions, its cosmetic effectiveness is limited to wrinkles in the brow and adjacent regions around the eyes and to the treatment of excessive underarm sweating.
What about the cost? Treatment cost varies depending on patient needs, but generally starts at around $200.
How do I choose a qualified practitioner to administer BOTOX? While any qualified medical provider can administer BOTOX Cosmetic, there are a few things you should consider when choosing one for your procedure. Look for a registered nurse, nurse practitioner or doctor who specializes in a related field, including dermatology (skin), plastic surgery, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), and ophthalmology (eyes), as they will have more experience with the specific regions and functions potentially affected by BOTOX injections. It is also helpful to seek a professional who has extensive experience with this and other cosmetic facial procedures. BOTOX Cosmetic is ideal for the busy patient for whom an improved appearance is important.