What All is Botox Used For?

Wanda Rice

You may be surprised to know that Botox is much more than just a wrinkle treatment. Did you know Botox is used for the treatment of cerebral palsy, migraines, eye spasms and much more? While Botox became a household name due to its cosmetic uses, it is widely used for medical treatments and its FDA-approval list continues to grow. Let’s take a look at what Botox is and the many uses of this safe and effective medication.

Botox: From Botulism to Beauty

Many medications come from surprising backgrounds, often substances that in large quantities can be deadly. For example, eating the plant foxglove can be fatal, yet one of the most effective drugs for heart failure, digoxin, was derived from foxglove. Botox has a similar background as it is derived from the bacterium that causes botulism, but in its purified form, it is safe and effective.

Botox is a purified form of one of the toxins created by C. Botulinum, type A. Botulinum toxin A was identified and purified in the mid-1900s and eventually FDA-approved in 1989 for medical use on humans. The neurotoxin works by blocking the nerve signals to muscles, creating a temporary paralysis of the muscle. This effect is what makes it valuable for medical and cosmetic treatments.

The first FDA-approved uses for Botox were to address eye spasms. The neuromodulating effects of blocking the nerve signals that cause the eye muscles to contract and spasm made Botox useful for the treatment of strabismus and blepharospasm. It was during treatments of eye spasms that the first possible uses for cosmetic purposes were noticed. The injections around the eyes smoothed the glabellar lines (11s) between the eyebrows in some patients.

In the 1990s, Botox began being used off-label for the cosmetic treatment of frown lines and other dynamic lines on the face. After research and testing, Allergan (creator of Botox) was FDA-approved for Botox Cosmetic treatment of frown lines in 2001. This began a cascade of FDA approvals for Botox, as well as more off-label cosmetic uses.

Medical Uses for Botox

Botox injections use small doses of the botulinum toxin A, and it has been used for dozens of medical treatments. Most are related to Botox’s ability to relax or paralyze muscles that are causing pain or functional problems. There are several categories of medical treatments that use Botox or other C. Botulinum toxin derivatives.

Focal Dystonia Disorders

Focal dystonia disorders involve involuntary or spastic muscle patterns. Cervical dystonia or spasmodic torticollis (involuntary neck muscle contractions) is one of the first dystonia disorders to be treated with Botox injections. Other disorders in this category include writer’s cramp, eyelid closure, spasmodic dystonia and more.

Spasticity Disorders

Spasticity disorders are when there is an increase in muscle velocity that causes rigid muscles. This can be caused by disease or injury to the brain or spinal cord. Botox injections are used for some spasticity disorders that are caused by stroke, cerebral palsy, MS, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI).

Cramps, Muscle Spasms and More

Botox can be used for a wide range of muscle spasms and cramps. Many of these are painful conditions that affect the muscles in the back, knees, shoulders, head, face and other areas on the body. Migraine/tension headaches, strabismus, bruxism, tremors, hemorrhoids and neuropathic pain are some of the other conditions treated by Botox and other botulinum toxins.

Botox Cosmetic Treatments

Since Botox Cosmetic was FDA-approved for the treatment of brow lines in 2001, the uses for this injectable have increased. The FDA has approved several cosmetic-related treatments for Botox, but there are more uses that are completed as “off-label” treatments. The tiny micro-doses of Botox for cosmetic treatments are much smaller than medical doses, reducing the chances of negative side effects.

Botox is known for its wrinkle and line treatments, but it is used for so much more than just smoothing line formations. It can help reshape the face and facial features and is being used more and more as a preventive cosmetic treatment. There are many Botox cosmetic treatments, but here are some of the most popular.

Brow Lines

Relaxing the muscles in the brow can smooth glabellar lines (frown) and horizontal lines (worry) across the forehead. This can make the face look younger and more pleasant – frown and worry lines can create an appearance of anger, sadness or grumpiness. Many younger patients are using micro-doses of Botox to prevent these lines from forming.

Crow’s Feet

The eye smile lines, or crow’s feet, can be diminished with Botox treatment. Botox is FDA-approved for reducing wrinkles on the outside of the eyes. The effects can last 3-4 months before the treatment needs to be repeated.

Masseter or Jaw-Width Reduction

Heavy or thick masseter (jaw) muscles can create a square or masculine jawline. Botox injections can weaken these muscles, allowing them to shrink in size over time. This can create a more heart-shaped face, slimmer or feminine appearance.

Neck Bands. Cord or Lines

Aging effects on the neck are often caused by pronounced muscles. Noticeable platysma muscles create the cords or bands, as well as necklines. Botox is FDA approved to smooth the neck for a more svelte and youthful appearance.

The Remarkable Story of Botox

Orange Peel Chin (Dimples)

Indents on the chin can be caused by muscle contractions and eliminated with Botox treatments. The injections can smooth the orange peel appearance for a more attractive chin. Injections in this area can also be used to enhance the jawline and reduce jowling to maintain a youthful look.

Lips, Eyebrow and Nose Enhancements

When used by a skilled injector, Botox can be used to change the appearance of the eyebrows, nose or lips. These are non-surgical cosmetic enhancements that can have similar effects as invasive plastic surgery. Lip flips, nose reshaping and brow lifts can be accomplished with careful placement of Botox to relax certain muscles that affect these facial features.

Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)

Botox can be used to affect certain glands. It is used to control saliva glands to stop drooling and it has a similar effect on the sweat glands. Botox is an FDA-approved treatment for hyperhidrosis, helping reduce the amount of sweat produced, and controlling this embarrassing condition.

Safe and Effective Botox Treatments

Botox has proven to be harmless and effective when used in small doses by a competent injector. For medical treatments, larger doses may be needed and should only be performed by a licensed medical professional. Cosmetic treatments have fewer risks, but you should always have injections completed by a skilled injector like those at Arcadia Wellness Center in Phoenix, AZ.

Botox injections take a few days to begin working to relax the desired muscles. The most common side effects are from the injections, which can include slight redness, swelling or bruising. You can reduce these effects by applying a cold compress, avoiding rubbing the area, avoiding blood-thinning substances and elevating the head when at rest for 1-2 days following treatment. Effects of Botox usually last about 3-4 months.

At Arcadia Wellness Center, we have an experienced team of Botox experts for cosmetic treatment. We can perform hyperhidrosis treatment and cosmetic facial injections at our facility in Phoenix. If you are interested in learning more about the many possible uses of Botox Cosmetic, come see us for a consultation. Call our center today to book your appointment or book online

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