Botox is one of the most popular treatment in our office. Botox is most commonly used to treat wrinkles on the face. However, Botox can also be used for a number of other purposes that are not cosmetic.
What is Botox?
Botox is a purified protein used to address wrinkles associated with facial expression. When injected into the skin Botox will relax the muscles and smoothen out the overlying wrinkles. The most common areas of treatment with Botox are in the upper face. These include the horizontal lines seen on your upper forehead when you raise your eyebrows, the vertical lines seen between your eyebrows when you frown (frown lines), and the crow's feet seen around your eyes when your smile.
Botox for TMJ pain
Many people grind or clench their teeth. This can result in pain in the TMJ joint in front of the ear. Botox can be placed in a muscle in the lower face used for biting called the masseter to contour the lower face and address pain associated with TMJ. In this area 20-40 units of Botox are used per side. Depending on the reason for the enlargement of the muscle, permanent results may be achieved using Botox. For example, some people have a habit of grinding, clenching, or biting their teeth subconsciously. Often times this happens in their sleep when they are not aware of it. Botox placed in this muscle will relax the muscle and the grinding, clenching, and/or biting will decrease. This will reduce the size of the muscle. If the brain gets accustomed to this and the person stops grinding, clenching, or biting, then the muscle will not become enlarged or as enlarged again. However, if the habit starts again, the muscle will likely get larger.
To determine if you are a good candidate for this Botox treatment it is necessary to look at your lower face when biting and comparing it to when you are not biting. If a bulge is seen on the outer portion of the jawline, then you are likely a candidate for a Botox treatment. It can also be felt with the fingers when biting.
Botox for Migraine Headaches
Botox works to treat migraine headaches in the same way it works to treat wrinkles: by relaxing muscles. In the case of migraine headaches (and sometimes other headaches such as tension headaches) the muscles in the upper face and head contract. This puts pressure on the bones which can be very painful. Botox will relax the muscles to relieve the pain. The areas treated with Botox for migraine headaches are those treated in the upper face. Sometimes additional muscles are also treated with Botox such as those in the temples and back of the head. The dose of Botox used is in the range of 60 to 70 units. Full results are seen in two weeks and after a Botox treatment. However, many patients feel improvement as early as the next day after a Botox treatment. Botox treatment for migraines will significantly reduce the frequency of migraines and is a great alternative for those for whom oral medications are ineffective. Most people enjoy their results from a Botox treatment for three to four months. At that time a maintenance treatment is recommended. A video demonstration of this treatment is shown below.
Botox for Migraine Headaches Treatment Demonstration
Botox for Enlarged Pores
One of the side effects that people notice when they get Botox to treat their wrinkles is an improvement in the appearance of the pores. The Botox can also decrease production of oil in the glands to reduce the size of the pores and to treat oily skin. For such a purpose Botox is used slightly differently. The Botox is diluted more than normal and spread out over the skin surface. Therefore, there are many injection points rather than just a few. Also, the Botox injections are placed in the very surface layers of the skin so that it can best reach the oil glands, in contrast to deeper placement of Botox when used to relax muscles. Usually about 40 units of Botox are used for the entire face. The results of such a Botox treatment are seen in a few days and most people enjoy their results for three to four months.
Botox for Excessive Sweating
Excessive sweating, a condition known as hyperhidrosis can be a serious concern for some people. Excessive sweating can occur even when it is not hot. It sometimes occurs when a person is nervous. This can become very embarrassing for a person, especially when it happens frequently. The most common areas of concern include the underarms, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. Fortunately, Botox is an easy and effective treatment for excessive sweating. These areas are more sensitive and therefore numbing cream is usually applied on the area for about 15 minutes prior to the treatment. To determine exactly where the sweat glands are, sometimes a test is performed called the starch iodine test. Iodine is placed on the area of the skin which will be treated. The areas with more sweat glands will appear dark. This allows the provider to know exactly where to place the Botox. Despite this, typically the entire area is treated and the Botox is placed to cover the entire area. Usually 50 units of Botox are used on each side. Some people enjoy their results from a Botox treatment for six months or more. Similar to when Botox is used for cosmetic purposes, periodic maintenance treatments are required.
Botox for the Scrotum
One of the newest and also most controversial uses for Botox is for scrotal enhancement. The scrotal sac needs to be slightly colder than body temperature for sperm production. Normally the sac hangs below the body to provide a slightly colder temperature. There is a muscle in the scrotal sac which is used to pull the scrotum toward the body. This muscle contracts normally in cold weather so that the scrotum is not too cold. When this muscle contracts the sac appears wrinkled. When this muscle is relaxed with Botox these wrinkles are not seen since the muscle does not contract. Therefore, it is not able to function appropriately for temperature regulation and sperm production may be abnormal. This is important for men who are trying to have children. The other benefit of placing Botox in this area is that, similar to the underarms, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet, Botox will reduce sweating in the area.