Okay, so there’s a lot to cover here. Since there seems to be a fair amount of preconceived (if not always accurate) notions, half-truths and strong opinions, we thought we’d get you up to speed on Botox with a Question & Answer session. Here goes:
Q. What exactly is Botox?
A. Botox belongs to a class of Botulinum neurotoxins. The others are Dysport, Xeomin and Myobloc. We use them all. Botulinum neurotoxins block release of certain neurotransmitters when injected under the skin or into a muscle. They’re very helpful little molecules.
Q. But Botox is used for wrinkles, right? Why do you use it?
A. While everyone‘s heard that Botox reduces brow lines and crow’s feet, there are many other therapeutic uses. With nearly 20 years’ experience with Botox and the other neurotoxins, we’ve injected nearly all of them. Conditions we really enjoy treating with Botox include:
- Chronic Migraine
- Spasticity (from stroke, cerebral palsy, or traumatic brain injury, for example)
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating, especially in the arm pits, hands, feet and head)
- Cervical Dystonia (a painful twisting of the neck)
- Blepharospasm (abnormal eyelid twitching and closure)
- Hemifacial Spasm (jerking or twitching of half the face)
- Spasmodic dysphonia (a spasm in the voice box making speech difficult or impossible)
- Tremor (especially the arms or the neck and head)
- Cosmetic (really…we’ve done so much of this stuff we’ve gotten really good. And it’s fun and rewarding too.)
- Overactive bladder. Works really well, but we refer that one out.
- Q. But the ‘neurotoxin’ part sounds dangerous. Is Botox safe?
A. Absolutely! Injected locally, Botox and the other neurotoxins stay where they’re injected, so there are no systemic side-effects. That means no liver, kidney or heart toxicity, no weight gain, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, rash, joint pain…well, you get the idea. And, no drug interactions with any of the medications you take.
A. Honest. When done properly, Botox is safer than Tylenol, by a long shot. The only side effects one could ever have are local, at the injection site, and could include a bruise, local pain, or weakness.
Q. Okay, you convinced me about the safety thing, but does it hurt?
A. In studies, most people rated the injection pain as mild or non-existent, and only 5% of folks report the pain as anything more than moderate. We chat during the injections, and do them fast. The most common reaction we hear after injecting a first-timer is, “That’s it? I stayed up all night worrying about THAT?” We smile.
Q. Is Botox permanent?
A. No. The body naturally breaks it down over time, and that usually takes about three months, though sometimes much longer for excess sweating, drooling (another condition we like to inject) and overactive bladder. Most Botox patients drop in four times a year for their shots.
Q. Okay, I’m in. Will my insurance cover Botox?
A. Other than cosmetic (cash, check or credit card, please), most therapeutic indications for Botox and the other neurotoxins are covered by your insurance. We’ll have all that sorted out for you before the injections.
Q. Can I watch you inject Botox?
A. Sure! See a segment we shot for Channel 12 News below. One of our patients was nice enough to share her story and let us film her being injected.