Botox, i.e. botulinum toxin type A is a protein which is derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. We currently know of seven variations of the botulinum toxin, known as serotypes A, B, C, D, E, F and G.
For medical procedures, usually botulinum toxin type A will be administered, which is produced biotechnologically and used as a prescription drug for the safe treatment of wrinkles and for several neurological movement disorders.
Since botulinum toxin reduces muscle contraction by blocking the corresponding neurotransmitter, Botox injections into the relevant muscles will cause dose-dependent relaxation of these muscles.
As a result of this muscle relaxation, wrinkles will be smoothened out, or disappear entirely, assuming they haven’t already been very deep.
Due to the constant activity of the facial muscles in the course of a lifetime, the overlying skin can develop wrinkles, such as frown lines above the nose, wrinkles on the forehead or laugh lines in the corners of the eyes.
Botulinum toxin type A rapidly dissipates after injection, but depending on the dosage, the effects usually last for up to 6 months.
Botulinum toxin is particularly effective for wrinkles caused by frequent muscle contractions caused by facial expressions (smile lines). The classic application of botulinum toxin are wrinkles of the upper third of the face, then around the eyes and forehead.
With botulinum toxin we can also treat unwanted wrinkles on the side of the nasal bridge, and to smoothen out chin dimples. Other application areas are very prominent muscle strands around the neck or wrinkles in the cleavage, caused by muscular pull.
In general, visible results of the treatment can be seen within 48 – 72 hours, with the full results taking up to 1-2 weeks. In rare cases it can take a little longer.The effect usually lasts 4-6 months, after that the changes resulted from the injected botulinum toxin return to their previous stage. In this case the treatment can be re-applied.
Another application is the treatment of pathological sweating, which can be blocked very effectively, and for a long time. This applies to sweating in all regions of the body, particularly in the area of the armpits, hands, feet, scalp and other parts of the body. Fortunately, the duration of action of botulinum toxin in blocking sweat glands usually lasts much longer. A re-application is usually needed after 12 month. (for details, please refer to the page Research priorities).
Another important application of Botox is for cranio-mandibular dysfunction (CMD), i.e. a muscular disorder of the cranio-facial system. These includes pathological grinding (bruxism) and severe facial pain. If traditional methods of pain management fail (i.e. splint therapy, pharmacological pain management, physical therapy, psychotherapy), a therapy with botulinum toxin usually removes the pain entirely in most cases.
Neurological ticsBecause of its muscle-weakening effect, botulinum toxin has long been used in neurology as therapy for neurological tics with good success. This includes hemifacial spasms, a condition in the face area. For this treatment, the effects usually only remain for 3-4 months.