BOTOX: How Exactly it Works and Surprising Alternate Uses
BOTOX™ is a drug made from a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum called botulinum toxin. It is often used to treat certain muscular conditions and cosmetically remove wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing muscles. You might be most familiar with the brand Botox, but there are several other brands that also use botulinum toxin to create similar results including Dysport, Xeomin, and Myobloc. Let’s check out what Botox is exactly and a few surprising uses that make the drug a popular go-to for plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and other physicians.
How Botox Works Exactly
Botulinum toxin can be injected into humans in extremely small concentrations and works by preventing signals from the nerve cells reaching muscles, effectively leaving the muscles without instructions to contract, therefore paralyzing them. It’s truly only the dose that makes it a poison.
In order for muscles to contract, nerves release a chemical messenger, acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter), at the junction where the nerve endings meet muscle cells. The acetylcholine attaches to receptors on the muscle cells which causes the muscle cells to contract or shorten. Injected botulinum toxin prevents the release of acetylcholine, preventing contraction of the muscle cells. The effect of botulinum toxin causes a reduction in abnormal muscle contraction allowing the muscles to become less stiff.
The Many Many Medical and Cosmetic Applications of Botox
Botulinum toxin is predominantly used as a treatment to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles and fine lines in older adults. Beyond aesthetic applications, Botox has been found useful in treating a variety of medical conditions including eye squints, migraines, excess sweating and leaky bladders. Botulinum toxin is currently used to treat over 20 different medical conditions, with more applications under review.
Botox is approved for a variety of therapeutic applications including:
- Frown lines between the eyebrows
- Crow’s feet
- Chronic migraines
- Severe neck and shoulder muscle spasms
- Spasm of the eyelids
- Excessive sweating
- Crossed eyes
- Urinary incontinence
- Dysfunction of the anal sphincter
- Laryngeal Dystonia (forceful contraction of the vocal cords)
- Achalasia (an esophageal issue causing symptoms such as difficulty swallowing)
Botox Treatments At Neaman Plastic Surgery
Neaman Plastic Surgery MediSpa works with patients living near Salem, Oregon to help reduce frown lines, crow’s feet and other medical conditions in which BOTOX™ has proven effective. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.