Botox is the trade name for botulinum toxin type A – a protein purified from bacterial sources that has a very specific blocking activity for nerve impulses.
This unique activity allows Botox to be used for a number of important clinical applications. Probably the most well known use for Botox is the improvement of facial wrinkles. When Botox is injected into the muscles of facial expression, it causes them to relax. The wrinkles and creases in areas like frown lines and crow’s feet are softened because the muscles that cause them to form are weakened by the Botox injection. The safety and effectiveness of Botox for this indication is really quite amazing – unfortunately, its benefits don’t last forever.
The effect of Botox gradually wears off and patients need maintenance injections every 4 to 6 months to maintain a smoother facial appearance.
Over the years, other significant uses for Botox have been recognized. Migraine headache sufferers very often find improvement in the frequency and severity of their headaches after Botox is injected into the forehead and brow areas. Many clinical studies support the use of Botox for this indication and supplementary insurance often covers at least a portion of the cost of treatment.
Excessive underarm sweating, called hyperhidrosis, can also be improved significantly. The same nerve receptors which stimulate the muscles in our face also stimulate the sweat glands in the underarm. Blocking these receptors with Botox greatly reduces underarm sweating. Normal body sweating is not affected, so there are no unwanted side effects when the underarms are treated. Most people find that the cost of Botox for underarm sweating can be paid for by reduced dry cleaning bills and lower replacement costs for ruined clothing! The lifestyle change can be dramatic.
The injection of Botox has become the most common procedure performed for cosmetic reasons in North America today. It’s safe and effective and well worth consideration.