In this day and age, everyone has heard of Botox, but do you really know what it is and how it works? More than just a popular treatment for wrinkles, Botox is approved to treat various problems, from sweating to migraines. If you’re curious about the procedure, here’s everything you need to know before reaching out to doctors for treatment.
What is Botox?
Botox is the most well-known brand name of the injectable neurotoxin Botulinum toxin type A made from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. This is the same bacteria that can cause botulism from food, but the dose is not toxic due to its delivery method and amount. Doctors use Botox treatments for various procedures, including the smoothing of facial wrinkles, excessive sweating, uncontrollable blinking, misaligned eyes, chronic migraines, and overactive bladder. Botox has been approved in Canada for various uses for over 30 years, and as a chronic migraine treatment since 2011.
How Does it Work?
Because Botox is a neurotoxin, it works to stop signals from the nerves to the brain. When injected into specific, targeted areas, the activity between that location and the brain stops, so the muscles relax. Botox can also inhibit some pain and inflammation signals, thus leading to a potentially effective treatment for migraines. This block in signal transmission typically lasts three to six months, depending on the area injected.
Even though doctors can use Botox for several procedures (and more are researched every year), the most common and effective procedures are smoothing facial wrinkles. Think about the wrinkles that appear when you smile/laugh/frown/etc. as opposed to those that are always present. Treatment for these areas happens quickly during a single session in-office and typically lasts three to four months before patients need a repeat visit. Patients can resume their normal activities immediately (but should avoid exercise for 24 hours). The full effects of treatment can take up to two weeks to notice, so be patient!
In Alberta, Botox falls under Personal Services Regulation and Personal Services Standards, which establish minimum health and safety requirements for the personal services industry. You may have also been offered Botox or other injectables by your dentist. Is this legal? Dentists in Alberta may administer certain injectables if – and only if – they are properly trained and licensed.
Side Effects and Risks
Botox is generally considered to be a safe procedure with minimal risks and side effects. The most common side effects reported after treatment include pain, swelling, or bruising at the injection site. You could also have flu-like symptoms, headache, and upset stomach. In addition, you should avoid heavy physical activity for 24 hours after treatment to reduce the risk of the Botox migrating to other sites in your body. The most important thing to consider to reduce Botox risks is choosing a reputable doctor/facility. While many doctors perform Botox procedures, there are risks involved with those who aren’t trained, including improper dosage or placement, asymmetrical results, and use of an unregulated, off-brand product.
What’s the Average Price?
The price of your procedure will vary depending on the specifics of your request and your physiology. Usually, insurance companies don’t cover any procedures, but checking for potential partial payments is a good idea, especially for non-cosmetic treatment. Make sure to consider the ongoing cost of treatment. You’ll usually need to return a few times a year to maintain your results, so the cost isn’t just a one-time payment.
If you’re considering a Botox procedure, do your research and choose a knowledgeable provider who can produce great results!