5 Questions about BOTOX: Ask Your Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Sacha Obaid, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Serving Dallas, Plano, Southlake, and Nearby Fort Worth, Texas

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BySacha Obaid

BOTOX®, the injectable treatment made from botulinum toxin, is one of the most widely used cosmetic therapies available today. Injections of BOTOX are applied in many different ways, with the majority of treatments used to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles.

Although you might already be familiar with the basic concept, you probably still have a few questions about BOTOX procedures. If you are thinking about having a facial rejuvenation procedure, BOTOX is definitely one to consider. When you go for your consultation arm yourself with the following list of questions to make sure you leave well-informed.

questions about BOTOXHow long does a single BOTOX treatment last?

According to the manufacturer, the results of BOTOX last between four and six months at least. However, results can vary quite a bit between different patients and the location treated. The skill of the surgeon likely makes a difference as well, since an experienced doctor will know exactly where to place the injection to get the best results. Some reports suggest that patients who undergo multiple treatments see that the effects last longer once they have had several previous BOTOX injections.

What are the long-term effects of BOTOX?

Because BOTOX injections include the botulinum toxin they were subjected to extensive, thorough safety testing prior to FDA approval. So, there are no major safety concerns that apply generally to this drug, and millions of patients use it annually with no serious side effects reported. With that said, you should be aware of the risks that do apply, and discuss with your doctor any concerns you have based on media reports about BOTOX. Keep in mind that the active ingredient in BOTOX is a neuro-toxic chemical and so you should take this conversation seriously and weigh the benefits of BOTOX treatments against the specific risks your physician identifies.

Will BOTOX permanently affect my facial muscles?

The best evidence suggests that BOTOX treatments are fully reversible and that normal function will eventually return to all treated muscles. This is partly due to the fact that BOTOX treatments use such a tiny amount of the active toxin with just enough activity to temporarily inactivate the muscle fibers.

How often should I get BOTOX injections?

According to the manufacturer, you should expect the effects of BOTOX to last about four months. After this time, the muscle inactivation may begin to fade and the effects will be less noticeable. Wrinkles that were eliminated by BOTOX might start to reemerge. Therefore, many physicians recommend having BOTOX injections at intervals slightly shorter than four months so that you never experience fading of your facial rejuvenation therapy.

How is BOTOX different from other injectable cosmetic treatments?

BOTOX and similar toxin-based treatments are fundamentally different from injectable fillers such as collagen or Restylane. While filler treatments restore volume and skin smoothness by adding material under the skin, BOTOX works instead by inactivating the facial muscles. These muscles are normally active at a low level, constantly pulling on the skin and increasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. By inactivating the muscles, BOTOX treatments temporarily eliminate this cause of wrinkling, producing results that many patients find highly effective.