Botox is highly regarded in the world of plastic surgery for smoothing wrinkles. However, the medical community has been stunned, time and again by its endless applications.
This amazing drug has been approved for several cosmetic applications but is also beneficial for use in some medical conditions. Allergen, the owner of Botox, has another eight hundred patents for its potential applications and uses. It has been a staple in cosmetic enhancement since it was approved around 30 years ago.
Today, however, over half of its revenue is from the therapeutic uses in conditions ranging from chronic migraines to excessive sweating. The drug is generally deemed safe when used in tiny doses and administered by licensed professionals.
In January of 2013, the FDA approved Botox for the treatment of overactive bladder. An overactive bladder contracts more often than it should. This leads to leakage and the constant urge to urinate. In a study funded by Allergan, 9 out of 10 people experienced a 50% or more drop in daily incontinence. In 44% to 52%, incontinence completely stopped. An additional study revealed a consistent reduction in daily incontinence. In 30% of individuals from this study, a single injection produced stable outcomes for a year.
Eyelid Spasms (blepharospasms)
Neurotoxins from the drug cause temporary paralysis, blocking nerve communication to muscles. This effect is useful when muscles behave in ways they shouldn’t, such as with spasms. When the FDA approved it, one of the drugs first uses was to treat blepharospasm. In blepharospasms, the basal ganglia of the brain lose the ability to communicate control to the eye.
Crossed Eyes (Strabismus or Tropia)
Injections into the in-pulling muscle of the eye weaken it and relieve Strabismus or Tropia. Although the treatments wear off, the outward-pulling muscle has time to strengthen. This allows the brain the opportunity to regain control of eye alignment and binocular vision.
Injections can reduce breakouts by curbing oil production. This therapy is not used to eliminate acne because it would have to be used in doses that are too high. Large doses would cause a loss of facial expressions. Instead, tiny amounts are injected at the most superficial level of the skin just to help reduce oil production.
Spasticity is a muscle control disorder characterized by stiffening or tightening with sustained contraction of the affected muscle. Spasticity occurs in conditions such as cerebral palsy, spinal injuries, stroke, and multiple sclerosis. When someone suffers from spasticity, the brain signals the muscles to move or contract. Botox blocks the release of the chemical messenger, acetylcholine, so the muscles relax.
Cervical Dystonia causes the neck and shoulder muscles to pull involuntarily. This leads to head-turning and tilting. Botox injections were first used in the late 1980s to treat this condition. In addition to reducing pain, the injections were found to improve abnormal movement and posture. Patients receiving long term follow-up appointments for 20 years experienced consistent benefits with low risk of immunoresistance.
Studies indicate that Spasmodic Dysphonia or vocal tremors can be successfully treated with injections. 50-65% of patients who received the treatment in a 2004 study saw improved voice quality for both conditions.
Botox administered by a throat nose and ear doctor can treat hypersalivation. The procedure is done with injections to the salivary glands. This paralyzes the nerves, just as it does in other areas of the body, and halts the overproduction of saliva.
Bell’s Palsy is a condition that causes half of the face to droop. It is due to facial nerve paralysis that can sometimes occur in pregnancy, diabetes, or the transmission of some viruses, such as Lyme disease. Though Bell’s palsy is normally temporary, Botox can relax the facial muscles and aid in recovery.
Cleft Lip Scarring
In individuals with cleft lip, upper lip wounds from surgery are subjected to repetitive tension. This tension is caused by the muscle that encircles the mouth. When an application of type A botox is injected before surgery it improves aesthetical results. Positive results were found in a randomized clinical trial of patients from age 4 months to 24 months with cleft lip and palate and no prior history of surgery.
There seemingly endless beneficial uses beyond well-known cosmetic applications. It is only to be administered under the care of a licensed physician. Injections must be precisely placed to avoid side effects. If administered incorrectly, this therapy may be dangerous. Generally, it is not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing, or anyone who is allergic to the protein in cows milk to receive botox. A certified and skilled practitioner can give you complete advice on the procedure and will help you determine if the therapy is right for you.
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