Is there something that almost instantly smoothes away certain wrinkles, does not require surgery and can be administered in 10 minutes? Sounds too good to be true, but enthusiastic users of Botox have been successfully reversing the effects of wrinkling and crinkling of the skin for more than 10 years. However until very recently, Botox could only be promoted as a therapeutic medicine. Since 1982, Allergen, the manufacturer of Botox, has been marketing the product for medical use to treat spasms of cerebral palsy, crossed eyes, migraines and other non-cosmetic conditions. On Monday, April 15, Botox was approved by the FDA for use in treating wrinkles and creases of the upper face. Some are expecting the impact on the market to match the excitement of Viagra when it was initially introduced.
Facial plastic surgeons have been using Botox to treat frown lines in the forehead as well as crows feet around
the eyes. These lines are caused by the contractions of underlying facial muscles every time you smile, laugh or frown. Botox prevents the muscles that create worry lines and wrinkles from contracting, and lines are eliminated. The overlying skin will be smooth and unwrinkled while untreated facial muscles still function normally.
Botox injections are primarily used in the upper third of the face. The dynamic wrinkles, lines and furrows between the eyebrows that make you look tired or angry, and lines around the eyes ("crows feet") respond favorably to Botox. The lines around the mouth, however, would not generally be treated with Botox as blocking those muscles may impact the appearance of a natural smile. When properly administered, optimally by a trained facial plastic surgeon, the result is a rested,more youthful expression.
After treatment, Botox takes 2-4 days to interrupt the synaptic process (the muscles do not receive a message from the facial nerves to contract). Patients then witness a dramatic flattening of frown lines and "crows feet", lasting up to 5 months. Clinical studies do indicate that the duration of benefits are increased over time, so that the need for future injections could be required less frequently.
The treatment is simple and safe and involves a tiny needle to deliver Botox to the specified facial area. No sedation, anesthetic or recovery time is required, and most patients compare the discomfort to the sensation of a pinch. The procedure is performed in an office setting. Side effects, which are minimal, are completely reversible due to Botox's temporary effect on the muscles.
Andrew A. Jacono, M.D. is a facial plastic surgeon who has experience injecting hundreds of patients
with Botox. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Medical Subspecialties to perform facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and is a member of the Botox Cosmetic Physician's Network. Doctor Jacono confirms that "Botox is a very effective and safe treatment for facial lines caused by muscle contraction with extremely high satisfaction." He also warns that Botox is not a panacea for all aspects of aging skin. He notes "Most patients look to Botox to give them a more youthful appearance, or look less angry. Botox will not erase wrinkles that are the result of sun exposure or sagging of skin. It will decrease and smooth wrinkles that are caused by muscle movement. The changes due to sun exposure are effectively treated with skin rejuvenative procedures such as laser resurfacing, skin peels (the Blue Peel from OBAGI), and microdermabrasion, and those due to and sagging skin are treated with surgical procedures such as eyelid lifts, and endoscopic facelifting procedures (surgery performed through small incisions using a telescope and a video camera). Doctor Jacono specializes in these minimally invasive state-of-the-art procedures and has most recently presented his work at the Eighth International Symposium on Facial Plastic Surgery in New York City.
So while you may not be able to look like your high-school graduation photo, a ten-minute appointment with your local facial plastic surgeon may help reverse years of lines due to worry, stress and overwork (of your muscles that is).
You can reach Doctor Jacono at The New York Center for Facial Plastic and Laser Surgery (516)773-4646.