6 Benefits of That Botox Treatment You’re Considering
Botox has been around long enough that most people with any concern over facial wrinkles have at least considered it.
Botox injections are, in fact, very effective at improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Beyond that, Botox can also help treat certain medical conditions. Botox is safe and well-researched, but the finer details of this treatment aren’t very well publicized.
To remedy that, here we provide a brief introduction to the benefits of Botox. We’ll look at exactly what Botox is, how it works, and the main benefits of Botox to help you better understand this treatment and make an informed decision about whether to pursue it.
What Is Botox?
Botox is a temporary paralytic agent that can reduce the movement of muscles. Since facial muscle movement is what causes wrinkles to appear, Botox treatment smooths out the skin’s appearance and keeps wrinkles at bay.
Botox acts locally, meaning it only affects the muscles where it’s injected. This gives doctors a great deal of control over which muscles (and wrinkles) they target.
Botox is one of the most widely known brands of injectable botulinum toxin, a toxin produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Much like people say “Kleenex” to refer to any brand of facial tissue, people often say “Botox” to refer to all the different brands of this particular treatment.
How Does Botox Work?
The nerves in your body tell your muscles when to move by releasing a small chemical called acetylcholine, also known as a neurotransmitter.
After injection, Botox binds to a particular muscle’s nerve and prevents it from releasing its neurotransmitter. As a result, the muscle injected with Botox can’t tense up or move, and the skin above looks smoother.
As long as the Botox is present, nerves can’t send their signals. But as your body metabolizes Botox, it wears off of nerve endings and stops working. This process takes some time, so the effects of a Botox injection usually last three to four months.
When muscles sit still for extended periods of time, they get weaker. So when people continue with Botox injections, they tend to need the treatments less frequently as time goes on.
Should I Be Concerned That It Paralyzes?
Understandably, the word “paralyze” may cause some concern. Here’s what you need to know:
- First, the effects of Botox are temporary. It won’t permanently paralyze your muscles. As the toxin wears off, you’ll gradually regain movement of your facial muscles.
- Second, you may have seen some drastic Botox results in movies (or real life), but carefully administered, appropriate doses of Botox don’t have that effect. The amount of Botox we use depends on the size and location of the muscle. In our office, we typically start patients with about half the standard dose to evaluate the effects and proceed from there. Often, half is all they need.
Botox has very few side effects. The most common include:
- Redness at the injection site
- Muscle weakness
- Bruising at the injection site
What Are the Benefits of Botox?
Botox can be used in numerous cosmetic and medical applications, but because ENTs focus on the head and neck, we don’t offer Botox for conditions elsewhere on the body. Below are some conditions ENTs do treat and several benefits of Botox to consider:
1. Reduces Fine Lines and Wrinkles
This is one of the main benefits of Botox: it effectively smooths out fine lines and wrinkles on the face for a younger-looking appearance.
Doctors often use Botox to eliminate lines on the forehead, crow’s feet around the eyes, or smooth out the “eleven” lines that appear between the brows. They can also use Botox to flip the lip upward to give the appearance of fullness, or they can get rid of vertical bands on the neck that are a common sign of aging.
Essentially, doctors can treat any kind of cosmetic issue caused by muscle movement with Botox. Because of their intimate knowledge of head and neck musculature, experienced ENTs are especially adept at determining which muscles to treat to bring about specific results.
2. Treats Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
TMJ is a medical condition affecting the jaw joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments. If you have TMJ, the muscles and ligaments around your jaw joints become inflamed and irritated, causing mild to severe pain.
Botox injections can be an effective way to relieve TMJ discomfort in your jaw or ears. Treatment involves injecting Botox into the large, strong chewing muscles around the joint, weakening them to provide relief.
3. It’s Only Temporary
The paralyzing effects of Botox are temporary and only last about three months. This is an important benefit because it gives you a chance to try Botox without being stuck with the results. If you like what you see, you can come back for more. Otherwise, you can decide Botox isn’t for you.
4. Quick and Minimally Invasive
Botox is a non-surgical outpatient procedure performed right here in our office. Once you arrive for your appointment, we discuss what you’d like to see, and you’re ready to begin. We make tiny injections into specific muscles we need to target, and you’re done. The whole process typically takes about 15 minutes, and you can head home or back to work immediately after we’re done.
5. Produces Fast Results
Many topical treatments for fine lines and wrinkles take weeks or months to produce any results. One of the top benefits of Botox is that you begin to see results in just a few days, with full results appearing within two weeks.
6. Minimal Discomfort
Many people worry that the Botox injections will be painful, but another benefit of Botox is the incredibly tiny needle it uses. You may feel a slight pinch in a more sensitive area, but it really is very minimal. We’ve never had a patient leave saying, “I’ll never do that again!” In fact, almost everyone decides to repeat the process.
If you’re concerned about pain or any potential side effects, please let us know. We’ll be happy to talk with you!
Consider the Benefits of Botox for Your Situation
Whether you’re concerned about fine lines and wrinkles or a medical condition like TMJ, it’s helpful to discuss the benefits of Botox with a medical professional. A physician can advise you on whether Botox would be effective in your case and provide further details specific to your situation.
Dr. Cuthbertson is a physician at Ear Nose & Throat Associates of Lubbock. He joined the team at ENT Lubbock from Houston, where he was chief resident of the prestigious Bobby R. Alford Department of Otolaryngology at Baylor College of Medicine. He is board certified in Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery and has quickly built a reputation, not only as an extremely skilled surgeon, but as an approachable and compassionate clinician adept in the newest standards and technologies. Learn more about Dr. Cuthbertson.