How Safe Is Botox ® Cosmetic?
Over 1.6 million people chose to have Botox® Cosmetic injections in 2001, and according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Botox is growing faster than any other cosmetic procedure.
Botulinum Toxin A and B, or “Botox,” is used to treat a variety of different conditions. From Blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking of the eyes) to reducing glabellar lines (creases that develop in the brow), Botox is the fastest growing cosmetic procedure, and one of the safest.
The idea behind Botox is simple: prevent the muscles from causing wrinkles or lines by keeping them from contracting. Botox can be administered in a non-invasive way. Small amounts of sterile, purified Botox are injected directly into specific muscles and muscle groups. Botox prevents nerve cells from signaling muscles to contract.
After the muscles are injected with Botox, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for the full effect to take hold. By injecting small doses directly into the muscles, Botox can reduce or even eliminate specific facial lines for up to 8 months.
Some people might think that by doing this, their face will be in a state of paralysis for weeks on end, however, the Botox keeps from spreading to other areas of the face by targeting very specific muscles. Unlike other, more invasive, cosmetic surgery procedures, the effects of Botox are not permanent and not as drastic. There are many other advantages to using Botox.
Botox procedures are non-invasive, which means there is no surgery involved. There is no risk of contracting botulism. Facial expressions will remain the same for the most part. There is little to no recovery time after a procedure. It is safe to have multiple Botox procedures performed, plus Botox procedures cost much less than other, invasive cosmetic surgery choices.
Over a period of time, the effects of Botox gradually wear off, and the muscles return to their normal state. Because it wears off, it is safe to return for more Botox injections every three or four months in order to keep smoother, younger looking skin.
Botox advocates find that the procedure allows them to look their best at all times. By reducing the severity of facial lines, Botox helps them look younger for a longer period of time.
Even though it seems like Botox is a relatively new cosmetic procedure, it was first approved by the FDA in 1989 to treat blepharospasm, strabismus and cervical dystonia. However, in 2002 the FDA approved Botox for use in reducing glabellar lines after clinical trials demonstrated that it is both safe and effective in its use for up to 120 days.
One small risk associated with Botox is that of having the drug injected into the wrong facial area, causing ptosis or “droopy eyelids.” However, this is not a permanent complication, as it goes away with time. A small percentage of patients also experience headaches, flu-like symptoms or become nauseous following the procedure.
In the past, Botox has been used to treat writer’s cramp, facial spasms, head and neck tremors and hyperhydrosis. It is currently being investigated for its potential in treating chronic neck and back pain.
One reason Botox has become so popular is through Botox parties. Many doctors believe that there is no harm in treating many patients in a more social and relaxed setting, as long as the procedure is performed in a medically safe and professional way. Through these events, Botox procedures are less costly, and the patients may not feel the anxiety that is typically associated with getting an injection.
Following are a few cosmetic surgeons who offer Botox injections: Leon Goldstein, M.D. of Providence Rhode Island, and Dr. Paul Angelchik of Phoenix, Arizona.