What is Botulinum Toxin Type A ?
Botulinum toxins is derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Although there are seven different types of botulinum toxin (A, B, C1, D, E, F, and G), most of the research conducted to date has focused on type A.
Since its discovery in the 1960’s as a non-surgical treatment for children suffering from squints, it has gradually received approval to extend its application for many other uses including facial rejuvenation, and especially for the elimination of dynamic wrinkles. Administered correctly by a trained medical professional, it can give you a noticeable temporary improvement of moderate to severe frown lines, creating a subtle, more relaxed look.
Mechanism of action of Botulinum Toxin Type A
Botulinum toxin works by acting at the neuromuscular junction and impeding the messages sent from nerves to muscles. The bacterium produces a protein that blocks the release of acetylcholine, which normally transmits messages from the nerves to the muscles to make them contract and move. Once transmission has been blocked, muscles relax, providing relief to patients with overactive muscles, reducing spasms and pain. The effect is completely reversible and generally lasts for three to six months in most clinical uses.
What areas can be treated with Botox ?
- The vertical lines between the two eyebrows
- More pronounced horizontal lines on the forehead
- The lines on the outside or lateral of the eye (otherwise referred to as Crow’s Feet)
- Downturned lips
- Mild level of eyebrow droop
- Bunny lines on nose
It is important to realise that it cannot be used to support sagging face and neck skin, increase the volume of thin lips, or help skin imperfections, such as thread veins.
The First Consultation
Before starting treatment you will want to discuss your medical history and what you can expect from your treatment with your consultant. Wrinkle-relaxing treatments should not be used if you have a history of previous allergy to botulinum toxins. They may not be suitable for those with an active infection such as acne at the injection site or a history of disease affecting your nerves and muscles.
It should never be injected into muscles used for motor functions such as the eyelids and the lips. It is particularly effective for dynamic wrinkles but not for static wrinkles such as the nasolabial folds on either side of the nose.
Botox is an OPD procedure. The injection site is usually numbed by application of a topical anaesthetic approximately 15 minutes prior to the treatment. The injection is relatively quick and will usually take only 10 to 15 minutes. Small volumes (0.05ml to 0.1ml) are injected by a 30 G needle into the muscle over a short period of approximately 20 seconds. The procedure is essentially painless as the needles used are extremely fine.
It is important to note that Botox must be injected in the appropriate site at the correct depth and with the right amount of volume for maximum effect.
The effect is usually noticed after two to five days and should last from four to six months. The effects of subsequent injections may be apparent for slightly longer.
To increase the effectiveness of the treatment you should try to use the respective muscles as much as possible for approximately 30 minutes after the injection. You will be advised to abstain from touching or massaging the injection area for 24 hours. You can return to work immediately.
Is it safe to use ?
Botulinum toxin is potentially a dangerous poison but, as very tiny doses are used for cosmetic purposes, it has been clinically proven to be safe when properly administered. There is a huge volume of clinical research studies that have been published in respective clinical journals worldwide proving the safety and efficacy of this treatment. It has been in use since 1973 and more and more applications are being approved.