Wrinkle Reduction Treatment (Commonly known as Botox)
The gradual development of facial wrinkles is inevitable and generally represents the early sign of ageing. The most common areas of wrinkling include the forehead, the brows and the outer corner of the eyes (crow’s feet). This is mainly related to muscle activity which can be effectively dampened by the use of botulinum toxin, which is a naturally occurring bacterial toxin. This type of treatment to paralyse muscles selectively and reduce wrinkles is commonly known as ‘Botox’ treatment.
Botox is a trade name, and other similar preparations may also be used for this purpose. Botulinum toxin was initially used in the 1970s for treating patients with hyperactive muscles around the eyes.
Currently, it is widely used for cosmetic reasons, such as wrinkle reduction and a wide variety of other medical conditions related to dysfunction of muscles.
Consultation and treatment
During consultation a detailed medical history is obtained by your surgeon and assessment of the facial wrinkles is carried out to determine the exact areas of muscles that require the injection.
An appropriate dose of botulinum toxin is then injected into the muscles using a tiny micro needle. Following the treatment with Botox, the skin over the muscles remains smooth and even. Injected muscles are paralysed in about 2-3 days while untreated areas continue to work as normal. As the needle used is very fine and small quantities are injected, the pain is minimal and therefore no anaesthetic is required.
You may experience some discomfort over the treated area immediately after treatment. You may resume normal activities immediately however any strenuous activity and massaging the area should be avoided. You must follow the post injection instructions carefully to avoid any untoward effects.
Some patients may experience mild headaches in the first week or so following the injection which resolve spontaneously, and the use of mild painkillers such as paracetamol is recommended to relieve the headaches.
Botulinum toxin safety
Botulinum toxin is a safe drug and when injected by an experienced facial plastic surgeon the incidence of side effects is extremely low.
The most common side effects are temporary and localised bruising, slight redness of the skin and occasionally slight swelling at the injection site. The side effects of Botox are completely reversible and are temporary, lasting only a few hours and occasionally up to one or two days.
Rarely unintended paralysis of muscles may result in troublesome cosmetic imperfections such as drooping of the eye brows. The incidence of such side effects is injector dependent and settles with time.
How long does it last?
The effects of Botox usually last for three to four months after the first treatment. The effects fade gradually, at which point wrinkling begins to reappear and you may return for re-treatment.
Generally, with repeated injections, the effects last longer and the frequency of injections gets lesser. The duration of effect varies from patient to patient and may be less effective in older people.