Wrinkle eraser, anti-aging serum, and beauty enhancer. These are all terms commonly associated with BOTOX®; one of the most well-known cosmetic injectable available on the market today. Among the 15.7 million cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures performed in the US in 2017, BOTOX® ranked number one with more than 7.3 million procedures performed; seeing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
While BOTOX® has taken the cosmetic medicine industry by storm, its uses go well beyond simply reducing the appearance of wrinkles. The medical community has been able to intelligently use BOTOX®’s muscle-relaxing properties to help treat disease and improve the lives of millions of people around the world.
What is BOTOX®?
Derived from the bacterium, Clostridium botulinum, BOTOX® is actually neurotoxin called Botulinum toxin; a chemical that causes flaccid paralysis of the muscles. Botulinum toxin is able to achieve this effect preventing the release of neurotransmitters from nerve fibers; preventing nerve signals from reaching muscles for them to contract. This is how BOTOX® is so effective for smoothing out wrinkles when injected into the skin.
There are several types of botulinum toxins found today, with only a few variants used commercially and medically. One in particular (Type H) is considered the deadliest substance in the world, with as little as 1 gram capable of killing nearly half a billion people. While in the same family as the commercially found BOTOX® (Types A and B), this super deadly form is only used for research purposes.
However, any form of Clostridium botulinum can still be very harmful in the hands of untrained professionals. Many forms of the bacteria can be found in nature and even in expired food cans which have a telltale budging appearance. If the toxin were to be ingested or become exposed to an open wound, it can quickly affect your nervous system and potentially be fatal without immediate medical attention.
As harmful as this neurotoxin can be, advances in medical science application has made the use of botulinum toxin relatively safe for use in a wide array of applications. The effects of botulinum toxin can vary according to the amount and type of exposure. When used cosmetically, only a very small, heavily diluted form is used in targeted areas to achieve the desired effect of wrinkle reduction.
Medical Uses of Botulinum Toxin
Once the fundamental understanding of how this neurotoxin functioned in the body was achieved, scientists were successfully able to use botulinum toxin’s powerful actions for the betterment of mankind. Several medical conditions exist that can be effectively treated with botulinum toxin; helping those affected lead normal and healthy lives.
The following are some of the medical condition that can be treated with BOTOX®:
- Cervical dystonia: A rare condition characterized by involuntary painful neck muscle contractions, causing affected individuals to twist and turn their heads to one side. There is no cure for cervical dystonia, with only treatment, such as BOTOX®, able to provide them relief from these torturous muscle contractions.
- Cerebral Palsy: A term used to classify a group of permanent movement disorders, cerebral palsy can lead to severe muscle contractures, often casing the limbs to pull towards the center of the body. BOTOX® injections can be used to help relax these overactive muscles.
- Chronic Migraines: A form of recurrent headache that can last for several days, typically ranging from moderate to severe in intensity. Those affected often feel throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of their head, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and a sensitivity to light, sound, and/or smell. Unfortunate individuals who experience migraines more than 15 times a month may see benefit from using BOTOX® injections to help reduce headache frequency.
Using BOTOX® Safely
It is very important to work with a licensed medical professional when deciding to use BOTOX®, either cosmetically or for other medical purposes. If injected into the body improperly, BOTOX® can lead to several complications that can be life-threatening.
When choosing to use BOTOX® for its cosmetic applications, the experienced and highly skilled doctors at MAE Plastic Surgery can safely and effectively erase years of your appearance, allowing you to achieve smoother, younger-looking skin.
Schedule your own personalized consultation today in the Northbrook, IL area today to see if BOTOX® is right for you. Call (847) 205-1680.