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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Botox?

Botox provides an effective and simple 10-minute treatment for some facial lines and wrinkles. In April 2002, Botox gained FDA approval for treatment of moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyebrows - called glabellar lines. However, Botox is often used for other areas of the face as well.

How was Botox found?

Botox is the brand name of a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. In large amounts, this toxin can cause botulism, which you probably associate with food poisoning. Despite the fact that one of the most serious complications of botulism is paralysis, scientists have discovered helpful ways to use it. Small, diluted amounts can be directly injected into specific muscles which causes controlled weakening of the muscles. The FDA approved these uses in the late 1980s upon the discovery that Botox could stop ailments like blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking) and strabismus (lazy eye). Cosmetic physicians have been using Botox for years to successfully treat wrinkles and facial creases.

How does Botox work?

Wrinkles may be caused when a muscle tightens. Botox blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. A doctor trained in the use of Botox will inject small amounts of Botox through the skin into the muscle through the skin to keep the muscle from tightening. The injected muscle can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften. It is most often used on forehead lines, crow's feet (lines around the eye) and frown lines. Only the treated muscle can't move. Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity will not respond to Botox.

How is the procedure performed?

The procedure takes only a few minutes and no anesthesia is required. Botox is injected with a fine needle into specific muscles with only minor discomfort. It generally takes three to seven days to take full effect and it is best to avoid alcohol at least one week prior to treatment. Aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications should be stopped two weeks before treatment as well in order to reduce bruising.

How long does a Botox injection last?

The effects from Botox will last four to six months. As muscle action gradually returns, the lines and wrinkles begin to re-appear and wrinkles need to be re-treated. The lines and wrinkles often appear less severe with time because the muscles are being trained to relax.

What are the side effects of Botox?

Temporary bruising is the most common side effect. Headaches, which resolve in 24-48 hours, can occur, but this is rare. A small percentage of patients may develop eyelid drooping. This usually resolves in three weeks. This development is usually caused by migration of the Botox and for this reason, you shouldn't rub the treated area for 12 hours after injection or lay down for three to four hours. Other potential side effects include:

Are Botox parties safe?

No. You should only get Botox treatments in a clinic or doctor's office. You should never share a tube of Botox.

Will my Insurance pay for Botox?

Insurance coverage varies for Botox injections, depending largely on the medical necessity of your condition. Botox is not generally covered by insurance when used for cosmetic purposes. Check with your insurance carrier for coverage details.

Is Botox used for other medical ailments?

Alternative uses of Botox now include the following:

What should I do if I want to try Botox?