Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA, Allergan) and Dysport (abobotulinumtoxinA, Medicis) are brand names for the most exciting medication used in medicine today. With no more than a few injections, this magic elixir can alter the way we look, without the down time of surgery and with minimal side effects. It is also much less expensive than surgery. Each year brings new ideas for using this highly adaptable medication.
When the brain sends a message to a muscle in the face causing it to contract, it can create lines and furrows over a prolonged period of time. Botox/Dysport acts by interrupting this message so that it does not reach the muscle. Without being told to contract, the muscle lies dormant until the Botox/Dysport wears off, usually in three to six months following injection. Once it wears off, the muscle once again behaves normally as messages from the brain are again received.
Botox/Dysport has a multitude of uses. In the face, it is typically used to prevent the angry-looking “11” lines between the eyebrows, furrows across the forehead, and “laugh lines” extending from the skin near the outer aspect of the eyes. It can also be used to smooth out fine lines around the edges of the lips. When injected just below the corners of the lips, it can help create an upward curve to these corners. When banding of the muscles below the neck form “turkey gobbler” folds in the neck, Botox/Dysport can help relax these bands and smooth the surface of the neck.
Botox/Dysport can be injected into the armpits to help prevent sweating for up to a year or more. This may be useful in patients with problem sweating that cannot be prevented with applied anti-perspirants. It can also be used to prevent sweating of the palms and feet.
Botox/Dysport can also be injected into the strong masseter muscle (used for chewing) at the corners of the jaw to produce a less masculine, less squared-off look to the jawline. It can also help patients who suffer from grinding their teeth.
Botox/Dysport can be used in the prevention of headaches of every kind. Some doctors even use Botox/Dysport injected into the chest muscle during breast augmentation surgery to help relax the chest muscle and lessen post-operative discomfort.
These are just a few of the many uses for Botox/Dysport. New ideas pop up frequently for this remarkable drug.
Written by Win Pound, M.D.