For many people, cosmetic reasons are the only uses they know of for Botox injections. Yet, Sterling Heights doctors can use Botox for many other health-related reasons. While it is true that the injections help to reduce the signs of aging by smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, there are plenty of non-cosmetic applications as well.

For many patients, Botox offers relief for many painful or embarrassing conditions. The purpose of this article is to help Sterling Heights patients get a better understanding of what Botox is, how it works, and what the effects of treatment may be.

Understanding Botox

The medicine that is commonly called Botox is actually a toxin that can cause temporary paralysis. The scientific name is Clostridium botulinum, and when it occurs naturally, many people refer to it as botulism. It was discovered by a Belgian scientist, Emile Pierre van Ermengem, after an outbreak of botulism in Belgium.

In the 1970s, botulinum toxin was being used to treat a condition called strabismus, commonly referred to as crossed eyes. However, since the early 1990s, Botox injections have been popular in Sterling Heights and Grosse Pointe, and around the country, as a way to reduce wrinkles and the signs of aging.

FDA approvals for Botox injections:

  • 1989: approved for treating strabismus and blepharospasms
  • 2000: approved for treating cervical dystonia
  • 2002: approved for treating glabellar lines
  • 2004: approved for treating excessive sweating
  • 2010: approved for treating chronic migraines and spasticity of the upper lip
  • 2011: approved for treating urinary incontinence
  • 2013: approved for treating crow’s feet

How it Works

A Botox injection is done by a Sterling Heights dermatologist using a very fine needle. Once the botulinum toxin suffuses into the tissue, it will enter the nerve terminals and bind with them. This prevents the release of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. When the muscles fail to get acetylcholine, they are effectively paralyzed. Due to this fact, they become more lax, thus smoothing away the wrinkles and fine lines from the face.

Acetylcholine is not the only neurotransmitter that botulinum toxin can block or interfere with. It also stops the body’s release of pain mediators like substance P, which is why Botox injections are also effective at treating migraines.

Botox Fast Facts

  • There are more than six million Botox injections given each year as it is the most popular cosmetic treatment that is non-surgical.
  • In its natural environment, Clostridium botulinum is mostly inactive, and it is considered to be non-toxic.
  • After a Botox injection, the muscles just under the skin are paralyzed, which is why the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is reduced.
  • There are many uses beyond cosmetic. In fact, Botox injections can be used to treat excessive sweating, muscular disorders, eye movement disorders, migraines, bladder disorders, and even a few bowel disorders.
  • The popularity of Botox use has risen in men by 337% since the early 2000s.
  • A single Botox treatment can last for up to four months, and it can be repeated as needed.
  • Patients taking blood thinners should discontinue use (with physician approval) two weeks before receiving injections.
  • Botox and Dysport are both formulations of botulinum toxin. However, they are not interchangeable medications as they are dosed differently.
  • There is no generic form of botulinum toxin.
  • The brand names for botulinum toxin injections include Botox, Vistabel, Dysport, Bocouture, Xeomin, and Myoblo. These brands are made with different strands of the toxin.

Ways that Botox can be Used

There are so many exciting ways that Botox injections can help people, both cosmetically and medically. Those seeking injections to restore youthfulness to the face can opt for treatments that target their frown lines in between their eyebrows. Plus, they can be used to treat the fine lines around the eyes called crow’s feet.

The medical uses of Botox continue to grow, and many physicians can offer injections for things like eyelid spasms, shoulder spasms, chronic migraines, excessive sweating, and overactive bladders. There is also research being done currently on the effects of Botox injections in treating difficulty in swallowing, hay fever, cerebral palsy, jaw clenching, and arthritis.

Who Shouldn’t Get Botox Injections

Botox is FDA approved for many uses, and it is a safe procedure. However, there are some people who do not make good candidates for treatment, due to underlying conditions or other concerns. For those who suffer from any of the following, Botox injections should only be delivered under the guidance of a doctor:

  • Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Peripheral Nerve Disorders
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Progressive Muscle Weakness
  • Double Vision
  • Unexplained Blurry Vision
  • Severe Upper Eyelid Drooping
  • Lung Infections
  • Breathing Disorders
  • Unexplained Hoarseness
  • Dysarthria
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • An Allergy to Botulinum Toxin

The side effects of treatment are typically rare and minimal, if any. However, reported side effects by some patients have included numbness, headache, mild nausea, and temporary weakness of nearby muscles.

Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also avoid getting Botox injections. A Grosse Pointe or Sterling Heights physician will advise that there is not enough research on botulinum toxin and its effects on infants.

Cosmetic Results of Botox Injections

After a Botox injection, it may take up to 14 days for the solution to truly take effect. The anti-aging effects should be maintained for three to four months.

Since the side effects are so mild, it is a preferred anti-aging treatment for many people. The face looks softer and more youthful, and fine lines appear to melt away.

There are people getting Botox injections for cosmetic purposes every day, and many Sterling Heights and Grosse Pointe residents are likely receiving injections for the various other medical conditions that Botox can treat. The medical community is always researching additional ways that neurotoxins can be used, so it is likely that the list of treatments will grow even longer in the future.