Facts on Botox Injections
- Botulinum toxin (Botox, onabotulinumtoxinA) is a material that has been known for over a century and used for medical purposes for more than 50 years. Its initial uses were for lazy eye (strabismus), blepharospasm (inability to move the eyelids in certain ways), and wry neck (cervical dystonia).
- In 2002, it was approved for improving and relaxing frown lines in the area (the glabella) between the eyes on the forehead and has been used successfully in more than over 11 million patients since that time, based on estimates from data supplied by the Allergan Corporation.
- In 2004, Botox was approved for excess sweating (hyperhidrosis), and in 2010, Botox was approved for the treatment of migraine headaches.
- A common misconception is that Botox actually paralyzes the muscles in the face. Although, this can happen with extreme amounts of Botox, most physicians strive to inject just the amount that allows the patient to have some limited activity but not so much that they have overactivity of the areas.
- Patients should know that Botox is not used to keep them from expressing themselves but simply to keep them from making facial grimaces and frowns that have become habits and are unintended.
- When done correctly, most people who are not trained cosmetic surgeons will not notice that a Botox procedure has been performed but simply that the patient looks more rested or happier.
Botox Injection Preparation
Botox comes as a crystalline substance from the manufacturer, which then has to be reconstituted with saline or another liquid. Practitioners add varying amounts of liquid when reconstituting it. Although there is no right or wrong amount of liquid to add, most physicians add about 2 mL-3 mL (about a half a teaspoon) of liquid to each vial. Some add quite a bit more, which can lead patients to think they are getting more Botox when, in reality, they are getting the same or less amount of Botox than samples reconstituted in a stronger way. It is the total dose of medication, not the volume of liquid, that leads to the desired effect.
Therefore, it is important to remember that if a clinic or medical spa states that they are providing Botox at a certain dollar amount per unit, it is quite possible that they are diluting the Botox and actually not providing the agreed-upon amount. This is much like the concept of a watered-down drink at a bar, but the costs are much larger when it comes to Botox or its alternatives, Dysport and Xeomin.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/1/2016
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