Botulinum toxin A is a medical treatment for facial lines and wrinkles. It is classified as an injectable muscle relaxant. The different forms of purified botulinum toxin A include:
- BOTOXⓇ (onabotulinumtoxinA) from Allergan
- DysportⓇ (abobotulinumtoxinA) from Galderma
- XeominⓇ (incobotulinumtoxinA) from Merz
Botulinum toxin is a neuromuscular blocking agent and causes temporary paralysis of the injected muscle by preventing the release of acetylcholine from motor nerve terminals. By blocking nerve activity in the muscles, botulinum toxin causes a temporary reduction in muscle activity, and hence is used to block muscle movement in areas that contribute to wrinkles.
It is commonly used in the upper face, in locations such as the forehead and between the brows to soften frown lines. Unlike filler, botulinum toxin only impacts muscle movement and has no effect on filling deep wrinkles that have already formed. Therefore, the treatment can be combined with filler injections to further improve overall appearance.
Common indications for botulinum toxin:
- Forehead creases
- Frown lines
- Crow’s feet
- Infraorbital rhytides
- Eyebrow lift
- Nasal wrinkles
- Nasal flare
- Nasal tip elevation
- Gingival show
- Vertical lip lines (Perioral rhytides)
- Marionette lines
- Mental crease & cobblestone chin
- Masseteric hypertrophy
- Vertical neck bands (Platysmal Bands)
- Excessive sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
As there is significant variability in shape and function of many target muscles, even between individuals within one population, individualised, tailored treatment is essential to achieve an ideal cosmetic outcome. The treatment strategy should be based on muscle mass, muscle shape, pattern of muscle activity and what is aesthetically appropriate in the context of overall facial structure. As the NSC-DSS botulinum toxin Certificate of Competency (COC) trainer, Dr Angeline Yong strongly believes in and advocates a tailored, customised approach, always adjusting dosages according to the individual’s muscle activity and muscle mass.
- A topical numbing agent is applied on the area
- The botulinum toxin is directly injected into affected muscles with a fine 30-gauge needle
- Number of injections/units used depends on the areas needing treatment
- Treated muscles weaken over the next week with visible results
Botulinum toxin is expected to lessen facial lines for a period of several months to yield a relaxed natural look. Treatment can be repeated once the effect has worn off.