Serving Chattanooga, Tennessee
Within the past year, no single plastic surgical technology has received more press attention than botulinum toxin. Otherwise known as BOTOX, this purified bacterial toxin has gained attention for its utility throughout a wide field of medical specialties. It has shown promise in the treatment of headaches, problem perspiration, gastrointestinal disorders, muscular complications of cerebral palsy or stroke, not to mention wrinkling produced by hyperactive facial muscles.
Regardless of its application, BOTOX works in a single fashion. It interferes with a nerve's ability to communicate with the muscle it serves. So depending on the muscle area into which it is injected, it can produce results ranging from relaxation of facial wrinkling to improvement in a stroke patient's ability to control the use of their hand.
Scientists have known about the botulinum toxin for decades. As a matter of fact, the germ that produces it has been known to cause a very dangerous illness called botulism. But like many other great discoveries, the toxin has been harvested, controlled, and purified for medical use.
In plastic surgery practice, BOTOX is used routinely to soften the appearance of wrinkling produced by the activity of our facial muscles. The areas in which the treatment is most reliable are throughout the forehead and at the crow's feet area of the eyes. Places in which it should be avoided are around the mouth. The reason the BOTOX works so well in the forehead is that it can be titrated to weaken the facial muscles, thereby reducing wrinkling and producing a bit of brow elevation. In the crow's foot area, BOTOX interrupts the activity of the circular muscle that surrounds the eye, decreasing our ability to create wrinkling by squinting. The injections have even been used in the neck to eliminate banding caused by thin muscles present directly under the skin.
For the same reasons BOTOX works so well in other places, it is not as successful in treatment around the mouth. Many practitioners have virtually abandoned its use here. The down side of injection around the mouth is a crooked smile or snarl. Remembering the principle function of this treatment, (selective limitation of muscle activity), it's easy to understand how something as characteristic as one's smile can be unpleasantly altered.
BOTOX is delivered with a number of very small volume injections. This produces the smoothest effect and avoids the problem of disturbing eyebrow symmetry and function. The injections take about fifteen minutes to perform and require no anesthesia --freeing the patient to fit the treatment into even the most hectic schedule. BOTOX's results are not permanent and must be repeated to maintain the look. Semi-annual treatments are the norm.
Post-injection side effects can range from some bruising to headache, but most patients report problem free courses. Makeup can be reapplied immediately, and the treatment takes maximal effect in about a week.
Harnessing the botulinum toxin is certainly a scientific triumph. The utility of this agent seems to expand with every journal publication. If you think that BOTOX might be a potentially helpful treatment for you, contact us.
The Plastic Surgery Group, P.C., offers BOTOX treatments for patients in Chattanooga, Tennessee. For more information on BOTOX treatments, call our plastic surgery staff at (423) 756-7134 or (800) 634-3334. You can also e-mail us your questions and we will be in touch with you shortly.