a patient who knows how botox works

How Does Botox Work?

Simply put, Botox is a paralyzing agent that blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles and stops the muscles from contracting. It is made from a purified form of Botulinum toxin type A, which is relatively safe for most people when used by a qualified doctor.

Cosmetic Use

Botulinum toxin was first used in the early 1980's by ophthamologists to treat patients with optic muscle disorders. Since that time, it has become a very popular and widely-used cosmetic treatment for those wishing to "turn back time" by filling in and getting rid of facial wrinkles, frown lines, and crow's feet without undergoing surgery.

There is no recovery time. Patients may resume their normal activities immediately after treatment. Most treatments last an average of three to four months before needing to be redone, with costs ranging from $300 per treatment, depending on your location.

Cosmetically speaking, you should ask yourself if it's worth it before making your first appointment, as it can get rather expensive and results are not instantaneous. You must often wait three to four days before you see a noticeable difference. It would be rare to find insurance that would cover the cost of these elective procedures.

Health Risks

There are few risks when Botox treatments are administered in a medical environment. You may notice some redness and slight swelling at the injection site; this is normal. Before receiving injections, be sure to tell your doctor of any medications or vitamin supplements you may be taking, as adverse side effects may occur.

Serious side effects include botulism symptoms that appear as general muscle weakness, blurry vision, trouble speaking or swallowing, and breathing difficulties. Notify your doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. Don't receive Botox treatments from anyone who isn't certified in the procedure.

Last Updated: January 13, 2017