Looking out the window and frowning at the weather? We can help with that!
We can’t change the weather, but at The Plastic Surgery Clinic we can help to ensure those frown lines are a thing of the past! As we continue our series on individual journeys, and how to achieve your personal goals, it’s time to dip past the surface and go a little deeper.
Botox, or botulinum toxin type A, comes from the Costridium botulinum bacteria, and was first used in 1977 to treat strabismus, a visual problem in which the eyes are not properly aligned and point in different directions. It was later used to treat uncontrolled muscle spasms in the face, and a delightful side effect was noticed – patients had fewer wrinkles in the skin overlying the treated muscle. In 1996 doctors started using Botox for cosmetic reasons, and in 2002, a star was officially born when the FDA approved Botox for cosmetic use.
Today, Botox is the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment with over 6 million Botox treatments administered each year. But how does it work?
When a muscle contracts, nerves release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine at the junction where the nerve cell meets the muscle cell. Acetylcholine acts a chemical messenger, attaching to the muscle cell and telling the muscle to shorten, or contract. Botox interferes with this communication by preventing the nerve cell from releasing acetylcholine. When the muscle cell contracts less, it becomes less stiff, and the overlying skin appears more smooth.
For cosmetic applications, Botox powder is mixed with saline at extremely low concentrations, and injected into the muscle just beneath the surface of the skin. It generally takes 24-72 hours for the full effect to be observed, and results typically last up to 4 months. Does it hurt? Not really. The needles used to administer Botox are of the finest gauge and the injection depth is very shallow. Most patients experience a nominal pricking sensation and continue on with their day immediately after treatment.
The most common area treated with Botox is the ‘eleven’, the wrinkles between the eyebrows called the glabella. Interestingly, these muscles are only useful for one purpose – to create a fearful expression. At one time this would have been useful for scaring away enemies or telegraphing an imminent attack, but that was meant for a time when food and resources were a scarcity. Definitely before climate controlled grocery stores replaced hunting and gathering in the field. Other common areas include the horizontal lines of the forehead, elevating or evening out eyebrow asymmetry, crow’s feet around the eyes, lines on the sides of the nose (bunny lines) and wrinkles around the lips.
As with any medical procedure, it is important to use a trusted, certified Botox injector. All of our Injection Nurses are just that – nurses – and have been trained to ensure the highest quality of aesthetic service, safety and beautiful results.