Ziad Sara, MD
Although there are seven types of botulinum toxins produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, only two types (A and B) are used commercially. Doctors use botulinum toxin to block neuromuscular transmission, causing temporary relaxation of the muscle tissue. This beneficial effect of relaxing stiff muscles translates into many medical uses – both functional and cosmetic. Botulinum toxin is an FDA-approved drug that is considered safe if used in small amounts. For those who are not aware, Botox is actually the brand name of a prescription medicine that can be used to treat many types of medical conditions. Doctors started using Botox for cosmetic purposes in 1996, but it was used to treat a host of medical conditions even before that. Botox, like all other medicines, is not without risks and side effects. Before using Botox, ensure you seek a professional opinion from a doctor. Here are some uses of this remarkable drug: Uses of Botox MIGRAINES As recent as 2010, the FDA approved the use of Botox to treat chronic migraines. This came after an accidental discovery when a surgeon in Beverly Hills noticed that patients who received Botox injections rarely complained of migraines. REDUCE OIL PRODUCTION Botox can be introduced into the superficial layer of the skin via micro-injections to reduce pores and improve oiliness, giving you more refined skin. It works by reducing the production of oil glands, sweat glands, and pores. REDUCE MUSCLE STIFFNESS It is common to suffer from muscle aches especially when we stay in the same position for extended period of time when we use the computer or watch TV. Botox can treat increased muscle stiffness in elbows, wrist, fingers, thumb, ankle, and toe muscles in people over 18 years old. REDUCE EXCESSIVE SWEATING Botox can also be injected into the skin to treat symptoms of severe underarm sweating when other topical treatments have been explored and are not effective. GET A SLIMMER FACE Botox is one of the most convenient ways to achieve a slimmer, V-shaped face to improve overall appearance. The cause of a broad face shape is due to the over-developed masseter muscles. The muscles are particularly strong because they facilitate chewing of our food. GET A FACELIFT With advanced techniques, doctors can use botulinum toxin type A to stimulate collagen production and firm the skin at the same time. Using tiny doses of Dysport (another brand of botulinum toxin), doctors can administer the treatment under the skin to achieve a smoother skin with smaller pores and tighter skin. REDUCE NECK SPASMS The FDA approved the use of Botox in treating neck spasm in 2002. Doctors have found that Botox can relieve pain caused by muscle-related conditions, such as cervical dystonia and spasticity. From these uses we can see why the medical fraternity is still in ae over this highly-versatile drug.