The History, Safety and Uses of Botox

Victory Medical Spa explains the benefits of Botox. Botox has been recognized medically since the early 1980’s. It has been successfully used in treating muscle spasms, cross eyes, migraines, excessive sweating or drooling, cervical dystonia and overactive bladder. Also, some preliminary studies have shown promise in the alleviation of depression and TMJ.

The use of Botox cosmetically was discovered by ophthalmologist, Jean Carruthers in 1987. She was injecting near the brow of a patient who suffered from uncontrollable blinking. The patient asked for other areas of her forehead to be injected because it made her wrinkles go away. The next day Dr. Carruthers convinced her receptionist to try what would become the first Botox treatment for frown lines. The results spoke for themselves and the rest is history. If you are wondering, Dr. Carruthers never did get to cash in on her discovery. After consulting an expert patent lawyer, she was told it did not seem like a good idea and she left it at that. The company Allergen then went on to patent the drug and become the multibillion dollar company it is today.

Cosmetically, Botox can help to relax frown lines between the eyes, forehead wrinkles and ‘crowsfeet’ on the sides of the eyes. More advanced techniques involve scrunch lines on the sides of the nose, softening vertical lip lines, turning up the corners of the mouth and smoothing a dimpling chin. Botox is not a dermal filler and it does not fill lines. It works by blocking the synapse connection that occurs between the nerves and the muscles, so the muscle cannot contract. When the muscles are not being used, the skin cannot wrinkle. Younger patients may use it as a preventative for wrinkles occurring the first place. But for those that have deep wrinkles even at rest, the complete resolution of the wrinkles will not happen after the first treatment, although there will be noticeable improvement. This subset of patients must keep up on treatments every 3-4 months and not let the full muscle movement return and eventually the dermis will thicken as collagen naturally fills in the lines. Once this happens, treatment time may be able to be spread out a bit more. In almost all patients, by 6 months all Botox will completely gone.

Botox is a purified protein extracted from ‘clostridium botulinum’. Because it is not a live protein, there is no bacteria that can replicate. Also, because it is injected into the muscle and not directly into the bloodstream, the body slowly metabolizes it over the course of 3-6 months. Even if it could somehow enter the bloodstream, the amount that causes symptoms of botulism is thousands of time higher than is used cosmetically. One could argue that it is safer than aspirin. The side effects from aspirin can be as serious as heart arrhythmia, uncontrollable bleeding, and difficulty breathing. Too much Acetaminophen can cause fatal liver damage and excessive Ibuprofen usage can lead to stomach ulcers. Yet we think nothing of taking these over the counter medications. No deaths or serious systemic effects have ever been reported with cosmetic doses of Botox. It’s safety record is remarkable when you consider how many millions of injections have been done over the last 15 years. When injected by an experienced physician like Dr. Gallo, there are very few side effects and almost all of them are temporary.

Victory Medical Spa
780 Victory Hwy #3,
West Greenwich, RI 02817
(401) 458-0825