Botox is a safe and effective treatment to minimize fine lines and wrinkles – but it’s also temporary. Plastic surgeon Dr. Brett J. Snyder explains why, and how long the results really last.
Botox is safe and effective – but also temporary. Many patients wonder why the results can’t be more permanent.
“Botox binds to nerve endings, preventing communication between the nerve and the muscle,” explains Dr. Brett Snyder, a board certified plastic surgeon in Ponte Vedra, Florida. He adds that once this happens, the patient can’t contract that muscle. Consequently, after a Botox injection, the frown and smile muscles in the forehead and eye area can be prevented from moving – and from creating lines and wrinkles.
But, the effects are always temporary. This is because the nerve endings eventually grow new endings and sprout around the “blockade” of Botox and communicate once again with the muscles. And, ultimately, the lines and wrinkles come back. It generally happens a few months after the Botox injection.
“Even if it’s used to excess, it’s going to wear off,” Dr. Snyder says.
Botox Comsetic is actually a highly purified form of botulinum toxin type A, which many people have confused with botulism. Dr. Snyder admits the term “neurotoxin” is misleading, as if it is damaging to nerve cells, but that isn’t how it works. Botox was first used by Dr. Alan B. Scott in the 1980s as a way of treating eyelid spasms, a rare condition. These patients have had a high success rate – as have children who receive high doses of Botox as a treatment for spastic muscles.
Dr. Snyder notes that patients who use Botox for cosmetic reasons tend to get longer lasting results out of their injections if they have been using it for a long period of time. Muscles injected with neurotoxins tend to atrophy over time, causing a lesser need for additional treatments. Some patients eventually need to use it less frequently to get the same effect.