One of the most popular cosmetic procedures in Ireland is the use of Botulinum Toxin Type A (“Botox”) to hide wrinkles on the face. It works by impeding the messages sent from nerves to muscles. Administered correctly by a trained medical professional it can give a noticeable temporary improvement of moderate to severe frown lines, creating a subtle, more relaxed look.
The effect is completely reversible and generally lasts for three to six months in most clinical uses. However, 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.
To optimise your facial rejuvenation treatment it can be combined with dermal fillers or other cosmetic procedures including light and laser use. Wrinkle-relaxing treatments may be used on forehead wrinkles, while dermal filler may be better used to treat lines at the mouth area.
In Ireland botox can only be administered on prescription and only medically trained doctors and surgeons can prescribe and perform this treatment. Your consultant plastic surgeon is the most suitable person to advise you on what option(s) is most appropriate for you.
Does it cause a ‘frozen face’ look?
Many people are concerned that wrinkle-relaxing treatments may lead to a frozen-looking forehead that doesn’t move when they laugh or smile. An experienced consultant plastic surgeon will try to make sure that wrinkle-relaxing treatments affect only the tiny muscles being directly treated and not the surrounding muscles. This way, when you laugh or frown, the untreated muscles work normally so your expressions still look like you.
What are the potential complications and side effects?
If you have a history of previous allergies to botulinum toxins, or currently have an active infection such as acne around the injection site or a history of disease affecting your nerves and muscles you may not be a suitable candidate for this treatment. Patients who are pregnant or who plan to try to become pregnant soon, or who are breastfeeding, should also seek advice on the suitability of this treatment.
Studies show the most common side effects of injections around the eyes and in the face include temporary bruising, eyelid drooping (ptosis), dry eyes, and double vision. Facial droop can occur with injections into the cheek area. In the hands of experienced consultant plastic surgeons these side effects are rare.
What happens during the Treatment?
The injection is relatively quick and will usually take only 10 to 15 minutes. The injection site is usually numbed by application of a topical anaesthetic approximately 15 minutes prior to the treatment. Small volumes are injected by a needle with a small gauge into the muscle or muscle area over a short period of approximately 20 seconds. The insertion of the needle should only provide a tiny pin prick sensation due to the small gauge needles used. The effect is usually noticed after two to five days and should last from three to six months. The effects of subsequent injections may be apparent for slightly longer.
What happens after the Treatment?
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 injected area for 24 hours. The anaesthetic is purely localised and you can return to work immediately. You will need to repeat this treatment for optimum outcomes every 4-6 months.
Is it a dangerous poison?
Botulinum toxin is potentially a dangerous poison but, as tiny doses are used for cosmetic purposes, it has been clinically proven to be safe when properly administered by a consultant plastic surgeon. 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.
What other conditions can it be used to treat?
Studies have shown it can relieve migraine headaches, excessive sweating, uncontrollable blinking and muscle spasms in the neck and eye. It is also used to help treat overactive bladders, control pain during operations, help children with cerebral palsy, prevent ringing in the ears, assist diabetics with weight gain and control drooling in some cerebral palsy patients.
For additional information regarding this procedure please consult with your consultant plastic surgeon.