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What is botulinum toxin type A?

The cosmetic form of botulinum toxin, usually referred to as "Botox" by patients, is a popular injectable that temporarily reduces or eliminates facial fine lines and wrinkles. The most commonly treated areas are frown lines, forehead creases, and crow's feet near the eyes. Several other areas have been treated such as thick bands in the neck, thick jaw muscles, lip lines, and gummy smiles.

Botulinum toxin is a purified substance that's derived from bacteria. Injections of botulinum toxin block the nerve signals to the muscle in which it was injected. Without a signal, the muscle is not able to contract. The result is diminished unwanted facial wrinkles or appearance. Commonly known types of botulinum toxin type A injections include Botox®, Dysport®, Xeomin®, and Jeuveau®.

Botulinum toxin can be combined with other cosmetic skin procedures, such as chemical peels, laser treatments, dermal fillers, or microdermabrasion, to further improve your results. This combination of therapies can even help to prevent the formation of new lines and wrinkles.

“Botulinum toxin injection is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfil someone else's desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image, especially those coming from social media. Choosing a procedure based on “what’s new” is never a medically sound decision. Hearing about a brand name procedure on television, through an advertisement or online does not necessarily mean it is the best procedure for you.”

Who is a good candidate for botulinum toxin injections?

In general, you may be a good candidate for botulinum toxin injections If you want to smooth crow's feet, forehead furrows, frown lines, lip lines, and bunny lines, if the deep lines between your eyes make you look tired, angry, sad, or upset, your facial expressions cause wrinkles in and around your eyes and forehead, there is an asymmetry in your eyebrows or face that can be corrected by relaxing a muscle, you want to diminish neckbands, you want to improve the appearance of skin dimpling of the chin, you want to lift the corners of the mouth, you want to soften a square jawline, you want to correct a gummy smile, you are physically healthy and if you have realistic expectations.

What should I expect during a consultation for botulinum toxin injections?

During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your cosmetic goals.  Dr Ricardo will evaluate you as a candidate for botulinum toxin injections and clarify what approach is best for you. Alternative and additional treatments may be considered, once he understands your goals and medical condition. It is important to be completely honest during the consultation and be prepared to discuss your history with botulinum toxin injections in the past, medical conditions, drug allergies, and medical treatments, current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements and alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

Dr Ricardo will also evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors, evaluate the elasticity of your skin, ask you to look in a mirror and point out exactly what you would like to see improved, take photographs, discuss the type of procedure or combination of procedures and tell you whether your expectations are in line with typical results, discuss any risks or potential complications and share before-and-after photos of cases similar to yours.

The success and safety of your botulin toxin injections procedure depend very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. It's very important to understand all aspects of your procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement about your anticipated new look or a bit of pre-injection stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with Dr Ricardo.

Botulinum toxin is a minimally invasive injection that's given in Dr Ricardo's office and usually be completed on the same day as the initial evaluation. His assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.

What are the steps of botulinum toxin injections?

Injections of botulinum toxin may seem like a simple procedure to you since it's just a few shots. But it's both an art and science that only an experienced healthcare professional should do. There are 43 muscles in your face and the person who performs botulinum toxin injections must understand and pinpoints the correct spots to optimize your treatment.

The injection sites will be cleansed and will usually not require anaesthesia before injection. A very thin needle is used to inject small amounts of botulinum toxin into specific muscles. By carefully choosing specific muscles, Dr Ricardo weakens only the wrinkle-producing muscles, preserving your natural facial expressions.

Botulinum toxin treatment injections usually take less than 15 minutes. The number of injections you need will depend on your facial features and the extent of your wrinkles. Crow's feet, for example, usually demand two to three injections. Furrows above your brow could take five or more.

What should I expect during my recovery after botulinum toxin injections?

After the injections you can return to your regular activities immediately; however, strenuous activity is discouraged for the remainder of the day. Slight pain, redness, and swelling that occur at the time of injection usually resolve quickly. Any bruising that might occur post-treatment will usually resolve over a week or two. Some quick tips for the best results:

  • Avoid massaging or touching the injected area afterward; this may inadvertently cause the botulinum toxin to spread to an unintended area.

  • Lying down or inverting the body shortly after injection can also cause complications.

  • Avoid strenuous or vigorous activities for the rest of the day.

What results should I expect after botulinum toxin injections?

You may notice results within a few days, but it can take up to a week to see the full effect. Depending on your age, skin condition, and habits, the effects of botulinum toxin could last anywhere from three to six months.

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