Botox and Dysport Injections
These are the most popular products for treating facial wrinkles, are both derived from botulinum toxin type A that can block nerve activities in the muscles, temporarily preventing excessive movements. In general, the treatments are safe if performed by licensed medical professionals and if injected in a very small amount.
Botox is manufactured by Allergan while Dysport is created by Medicis; both have been approved for wrinkle treatments and a wide range of medical use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Ideal Candidates for Botox and Dysport
Older people who are concerned about the risk of scarring and prolonged recovery associated with facelift surgery are good candidates for Botox and Dysport injections, particularly if they are suffering from frown lines across the forehead, base of the nose, and between the eyes. Patients with crow’s feet or wrinkles at the corners of the eyes can also benefit from these non-invasive treatments.
If given to the right candidates, the wrinkle treatments can provide a dramatic improvement. However, it is important to note that Botox and Dysport can only treat wrinkles caused by excessive facial activities but not the other signs of aging such as sagging skin, sunspots, and other signs of photoaging. For this reason, they are sometimes used as an adjunct to other facial rejuvenation procedures such as laser resurfacing, facelift, and chemical peels.
During the Procedure
The treated areas are cleansed with non-alcohol agents such as Betadine or Hibiclens; for some patients, they will need topical anesthetic to minimize the discomfort while the Botox or Dysport is being injected to the facial muscles. Depending on the location and depth of the wrinkles, most patients will need three to five injections on each treated area to achieve the best possible results. But in general, the lines across the foreheads will require four to five shots while the wrinkles around the eyes will need two to three injections.
The entire procedure usually takes 20 to 30 minutes and does not involve downtime unlike in facelift surgery which requires recovery. However, some patients will experience minimal bleeding on the injection site which can be easily controlled by applying pressure. Regardless if Botox or Dysport is used for cosmetic or medical reasons, it should only be given by a trained medical professional in order to prevent complications due to overdose and wrong injection site.
Results of Botox and Dysport Injections
The actual effect of Botox usually appears three to four days while Dysport’s may take several days to a week. But in some cases, it may take a little longer for the wrinkle treatments to smooth out the facial wrinkles; in fact, some patients said that it took them two weeks before they saw a dramatic improvement.
In general, the result of Botox injection lasts three to six months, although it still depends on the patients. For example, people with deeper frown lines and stronger muscles often need more frequent “touch-ups” than individuals with less noticeable signs of aging. But with several treatments, most of them will notice that the result becomes longer than the previous one.
On the other hand, Dysport is said to provide longer results than Botox because it contains less protein so the body tends to break it down more slowly. According to a study published in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery and sponsored by Medicis, the product can last up to 13 months for some patients.
Things to Consider When Planning Botox and Dysport Procedures
Despite the relative safety of botulinum toxin particularly if given in a highly diluted form, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not receive this substance because of its potential side effects to babies. To be on the safe side, women should inform their doctor if they are pregnant or considering having children. Also, patients who are allergic to cow’s milk are generally not allowed to receive the Dysport brand because of the potential adverse reaction. And for those who are allergic to botulinum toxin, even the Botox Cosmetic brand is not a good treatment for them.
Because of the potential risks, these wrinkle treatments should not be injected to areas with swelling, muscle weakness, and infection. Meanwhile, patients should tell their doctor if they have a heart problem, Lambert-Eaton syndrome, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and myasthenia gravis because they may need dosage adjustments or special tests in order to avoid serious complications.
Possible Side Effects and Contraindications
It is important to note that using these wrinkle treatments more often than prescribed will not make them more effective and may even result to serious side effects. Also, people should not seek Botox or Dysport injection from more than one doctor because of the risks associated with overdose; and if they are considering switching healthcare providers, they should tell them about the last injection they had received.
Despite the relative safety of Botox and Dysport, there are still some side effects which are usually minor and temporary. These include muscle weakness on the injection site, dry mouth, muscle stiffness, headache, sore throat and other flu-like symptoms, drowsiness, eyelid swelling, and itchy/watery eyes with increased sensitivity to the light.
Although very rare, serious side effects may happen including allergic reaction (manifested by swelling of the face, tongue or throat, and difficulty in breathing), loss of bladder control, drooping eyelids, trouble swallowing or talking, crusting or drainage from the eyes, problems with vision, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, and severe skin rash or itching. If any of these symptoms occur, a patient should immediately seek medical attention.
Studies have suggested that certain medications, particularly those used for colds, allergy, muscle pain, irritable bowel disorder, and bladder or urinary disease can worsen the side effects of Botox and Dysport. To be on the safe side, a person should inform his doctor about his current medications and health conditions. Also, a patient should not take any drug or even herbal product without telling his physician as it may cause serious complications or unexpected results.