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Aesthetics Practice Today

Surprising Uses for Botulinum Toxin A

Published November 13, 2012 10:03 AM by Mina Grasso

Botulinum Toxin A is a protein and neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulium toxin can cause botulism, a serious, life-threatening illness in humans and animals. More patients are open to considering treatment with the toxin due to increased knowledge of benefits of its use. Botulinum toxin has been used for many years for multiple medical applications such as the following:

  • Cervical dystonia - abnormal head position, neck pain & muscle spasms
  • Blepharospasm - abnormal eye spasms (eye twitching)
  • Strabismus - crossed eyes
  • Muscle stiffness in elbow, wrist and finger muscles associated with upper limb spasticity
  • Urinary Incontinence - over-activity of the bladder muscles due to a neurologic condition
  • Chronic Migraine Headaches
  • Vocal cord spams
  • TMJ pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Cerebral Palsy and Multiple Sclerosis

Media coverage has enhanced interest in Botulinum Toxin A with surprising new uses creating hype. Patients frequently inquire about the latest "Non-Surgical LIFT." Going beyond reducing the frown lines and crows feet, Botox® Cosmetic and Dysport® (both Botulinum Toxin A) can be used to sculpt the face. Injections can be can be used to lift the eyebrows, make the eyes appear larger, turn up the nose, give a more narrow appearance and reduce flaring nares. 

The lips can slightly be plumped while lip lines can be relaxed. The "gummy smile" can be reduced if one has too much gum show. Targeting specific muscles can turn up the corners of the lips creating a more pleasant smile. Masculine jawlines can be narrowed which is popular in certain groups seeking a more feminine look. The chin can be injected to reduce the dimpling and crease while elongating the chin and creating a more aesthetic profile. 

Patients are frequently complaining about their aging necks and décolleté. A more-youthful neck with relaxed platismal bands and softer necklace lines and décolleté wrinkles can result after Botulinum Toxin A injections.

Botulinum Toxin A has changed many of my patients' lives who suffer from hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). Temporarily relieving symptoms of hyperhydrosis of the face, scalp, axilla, palms or soles of the feet can make such a difference in one's self-esteem and productivity.   

In addition to interrupting nerve signals by blocking acetylcholine, Botulinum Toxin A affects the sebaceous glands. Those who suffer from acne, oily skin and enlarged pores may benefit from these injections.

These "off label" advance uses of Botulinum Toxin A require proper training and supervision.  The aesthetic doses required for these treatments range widely. Extreme caution is necessary to minimize the risk of complications such as asymmetry or affecting the patient's physical performance.

 

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    Occupation: Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner
    Setting: Miami & Upland, Calif.
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