Containing a protein derivative of a neurotoxin called Botulinum Type A, Botox is a popular injectable that, when administered properly, carries a variety of helpful applications. Most famously, Botox acts as a muscle relaxant, often used to combat wrinkles and restore youthful appearance. Sadly, this poorly misunderstood substance is often the butt of botched plastic surgery jokes, and relegated to sitcom sketches and tabloid journalism photographs. Let’s clear the air of a few of these unfounded accusations, and help recognize Botox as a valuable tool deserving of recognition within the medical community.
Myth #1: Botox Is Only Useful for Cosmetic Enhancement
While statistically employed for cosmetic improvement, Botox is actually useful for treating a wide range of ailments, both internal and external. For instance, Botox injections can help combat excessive sweating, a condition known as hyperhidrosis. Locally administered injections cut weaken the connection between sweat glands and the brain, reducing gland activity in the armpits, hands, or feet. The injectable is also effective against muscle spasms, and is often injected to combat movement disorders and migraines. Botox can even be used as a temporary treatment for an overactive bladder— often known as urinary incontinence. The refined protein is injected into the bladder, and helps reduce the frequency and severity of chronic urges to pass urine.
Myth #2: Botox is Dangerous and Addictive
While Botox was FDA-approved for cosmetic use in 2002, it was approved as a medical injectable over a decade earlier. At nearly 3 million injections per year, Botox is the most common cosmetic procedure performed worldwide, and is considered extremely safe when performed by an experienced professional. While you could argue that self-confidence is addictive, there is no chemical property of Botulinum that makes Botox physically addictive. Since the effects of Botox aren’t indefinite (roughly 3-4 months), many misinterpret follow-up injections as a form of dependency.
Myth #3: Botox Will Give Me a Rigid, Expressionless Face
Botox only relaxes the facial muscles located near the direct point of injection, and does not permanently carry over to adjacent muscles. Under the administration of an experienced professional, proper Botox treatment will mitigate wrinkle appearance without inhibiting facial muscle articulation. To that end, be sure to research your options, and only trust a well-reputed professional to administer injections to you. Post-injection numbness is rare but possible, and will subside within a week. If numbness ever persists, be sure to reach out to your injecting physician for an evaluation.
Myth #4: Botox Injections are Painful, and Require a Lengthy Recovery Time
The region of injection must be incredibly precise in order to limit treatment to the appropriate facial muscles. Accordingly, the needles used for Botox are incredibly miniscule, carrying a tiny amount of the protein mixture in each dose. No anesthetic is administered for the procedure, and the injections themselves have been described as near-painless— no more than a brief pinch. Botox injection is considered an outpatient procedure and requires next to no downtime or recuperation. It is recommended that patients do no lie down within a few hours of injection.
All in all, Botox Injection is a safe, versatile procedure with a variety of helpful cosmetic and medical applications. If you have any further questions about Botox, or are considering Botox as a promising cosmetic option, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with Dr. Philip Miller. A recognized facial plastic surgery specialist, Dr. Miller has been voted among the Best Doctors in America each year since 2007. His office, located at 60 East 56th Street in New York City, can be reached by phone at (212) 750-7100.