By weakening different muscles involved in making facial expressions, Botox treatments can reduce or eliminate creases in the skin which occur when the skin is folded by muscle activity. This tends to give the skin a more relaxed, fresh appearance. A solution of the drug is prepared and injected directly into the muscle to be weakened. Generally speaking the most commonly treated areas of the face are the creases between the eyes made when frowning (the corrugator supercilii and other muscles), the lines in the forehead made by the “surprised” expression (the frontalis muscle), and the “crow’s feet” made by smiling (the orbicularis oculi muscle).
Botox is often used to treat some problems which may initially appear dental in nature. For example, for patients with a “gummy smile” a small dose of Botox on either side of the ala of the nose can weaken the muscles which lift the lip, resulting in a more balanced smile. Some patients with chronic muscle pain issues in the face, including those with jaw clenching problems, also sometimes experience relief with the use of Botox.
The cost of Botox treatment is usually related to the total dose of the drug required to provide the desired effect. People with stronger muscles often require higher doses, and stronger muscles require higher doses.
The effect of the treatment is not instantaneous. It usually requires one or two weeks before the full effect of a treatment is visible. The overall effect and the duration of effectiveness depends on the amount of the drug used, the strength of the muscles involved, and how a particular patient responds to the treatment. It is a little bit different for each person, and the doctor providing the treatment will typically adjust an individual’s dose depending on the outcome of previous treatments. Generally they will try to find a dose that will give a 3-4 month effect. If the treatment is not lasting that long, it is usually a sign that a higher dose is required.
There are very few side effect concerns with Botox treatment, because it is injected directly to the desired site of action and does not easily spread throughout the body in high enough doses to effect other body systems. The most common adverse effects are simply minor bruising around the site of Botox placement, or the weakening of additional muscles beyond those targeted, resulting in unbalanced or undesirable cosmetic outcomes. Since the effect of Botox is temporary, these sorts of side effects wear off with time. The best way of avoiding these side effects is simply to not be too aggressive with the amount of drug being used, especially if a person is seeing a new doctor or has not had Botox before.
If you have any additional questions about Botox treatments, please call our office or set up a free consultation with one of our doctors.