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Botox: Know the Facts

We may love love our expression lines, they can make us look tired when we're not. And they can make us look older than we feel.

More and more people are having their deep lines injected with Botox to wipe them away. But do results stand up to the hype? Apparently so. In 1997, about 65,000 Botox procedures were done; in 2001 1.6 million were performed.

What is Botox? Tt's a purified protein derived from clostridium botulinum bacteria, When injected into a muscle, it acts as a nerve impulse blocker; in other words, it keeps muscles from contracting, which makes them appear relaxed or smooth. This temporary paralysis literally freezes the expression muscles so that, depending on how much is injected, your ability to move your muscle will temporarily disappear along with your wrinkles.

Who can benefit most from these injections? Botox works best for what are known as dynamic wrinkles, those that appear when you frown, smile or laugh. Some doctors even inject it into neck muscles to tighten folds and some say they have good results with injections into lip lines.

Are the results permanent? No. They last from 3 to 6 months and the procedure must be repeated to maintain results. Costs can range from $300 to $700 per treatment depending on how many injections you have.

How long does the procedure take and does it hurt? Injections take a few minutes each. If a topical anesthetic cream is applied to the area prior to the procedure, the area becomes numb and there is no pain. Otherwise, patients just feel a needle prick. Additionally, injections can cause redness and swelling at the injection site and possibly bruise the area. It advises that patients to stay vertical for several hours after being injected so the Botox doesn't travel. In rare cases, Botox injections too close to the eyelid muscles can cause the eye area to temporarily droop.

How soon will I see results? Results take from 3 to 5 days to appear.

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