Way back in 1987, when Reagan was telling Gorbachev to “tear down that wall,” and everyone was singing along to Michael Jackson’s new album, “Bad,” ophthalmologist Jean Carruthers was using botulinum toxin injections for her patients who had blepharospasm. This is an annoying twitching of the eyelid. The properties of botulinum toxin (the same toxin that paralyzes the victim in botulism), work to relax the spasming muscles when delivered in controlled doses.
But an interesting thing was happening with Dr. Carruther’s patients. Their wrinkles smoothed out after their botulinum toxin treatments. And so BOTOX® as a cosmetic procedure was born. Well, actually everybody was really skeptical, and it took years for it to catch on. But the FDA approved BOTOX® for cosmetic use in 2002, and it is now the most popular cosmetic procedure in the U.S., with 7 million procedures in 2016.
If you have a perpetually stern look because of the creases in your forehead, or your crow’s feet make you look a little more “distinguished” than you prefer, you might be just the candidate for Dr. Carruther’s discovery.
BOTOX® is injected with a tiny needle into some of the muscles responsible for facial expressions – the same muscles responsible for the furrowed brow or worried look that seems to get more pronounced with time. This is done in just a few minutes in your doctor’s office.
No anesthesia is necessary, but some patients do choose to have topical anesthetic applied before the injections.
You will start to see results from BOTOX® injections in about three days, with the maximum effect at about one week after injection. Your skin will smooth, and your creases will become less obvious. The BOTOX® effect will gradually wear off over about four months. Because of the way the effects occur gradually and fade slowly, this is a treatment that won’t be quite so obvious to those around you. You’ll just look fresh and rested, and everyone will want to know your secret.
If you are wondering whether it’s worth it, your best resource is patients who have already had the experience. And as it turns out, Real Self gave BOTOX® the “Most Worth It” Award because 93 percent of patients surveyed said it was indeed worth it.
Perhaps the biggest concern about the safety of “botox” is when botulinum toxin is not purchased from Allergan, the American manufacturer of BOTOX®. The FDA warns that other botulinum toxin products should not be used because they do not know where it has been, how it has been stored, or if is actually stolen product. Allergan’s product has a hologram on the box and the bottle to identify it. We shared information about this counterfeit botox last month and you can read more about counterfeit botox here.
In addition, most side effects are mild and short-lived, such as a bit of bruising near the injection site. The key to minimizing side effects is to have the work performed by someone who is highly trained in injecting BOTOX® and who has devised your treatment plan carefully. Beware of having BOTOX® injections in a non-medical setting without the supervision of a board certified plastic surgeon.
In the end, BOTOX® offers a quick and safe way to rejuvenate your facial appearance without the expense, risk, and downtime of surgery. Currently, Allergan is offering a special for first time users of BOTOX®. Their loyalty program, Brilliant Distinctions, is offering a $50 rebate for anyone who has their first ever BOTOX® injections between now and March 31, 2018. Contact our office to set up a consultation with Dr. Slack and learn how to take advantage of this rebate. He will discuss your specific concerns, and offer a realistic assessment of the kinds of results this or any other treatment will provide.