Botox, or the botulinum toxin, is a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The Botox formulations used in medicine are produced in laboratories from isolated bacteria strains, purified and vacuum sealed in precisely measured doses.
When administered into an appropriate muscle group, the botulinum toxin works by blocking connections between the nerves and the muscles they innervate, i.e. the neuromuscular junctions. A small amount of the Botox formulation administered into a muscle will cause it to relax, which results in smoothing out wrinkles.
Treatments using Botox are almost painless. During the procedure the patient only feels slight discomfort, due to the introduction of the needle. We use very thin needles, but before treatment, patients with very low pain threshold receive local anaesthesia using a suitable cream.
Botox is considered a ‘lunchtime treatment’, as patients can come in during their lunch break to have the treatment, which on average lasts approx. 30 minutes. However, the results are noticeable only after a couple of days, when the muscle relaxes. They last for 3 – 6 months, depending on individual characteristics.
Apart from softening wrinkles, Botox is used in dermatology to treat excessive sweating of hands, feet and armpits. Botulinum toxin injections are also indicated when treating conditions causing muscle spasms and tics, spasticity in children with cerebral palsy and in ophthalmology to treat strabismus and eyelid spasms. Botox can also free us from headaches – when administered in the right area of the forehead and neck, it relieves migraines.