By Rafael G. Magana, MD
Aging is inevitable; but of the many tools in the armamentarium of a plastic surgeon to rejuvenate and improve one’s appearance, the most utilized, by far, is Botox (onabotulinumtoxin A).
Botox is a natural solution (biologically derived) for mild to moderate wrinkles on the forehead, frown lines, and the all too common “crow’s feet” around the eyes. Although Botox has analogs with similar effects, it is the oldest and most studied one of them.
Botox acts by interfering with the nerve/muscle connection, therefore reducing tonicity of the muscle it is injected into. As the muscle stops contracting, the overlying skin reflects the effect by reducing the universal stigma of aging: wrinkles.
Botox is safe when applied by a knowledgeable professional. It is FDA approved for the aforementioned areas, and is quite effective when the appropriate amount is injected. The muscles of the forehead and those around the eyes are distinct and have opposing forces when they contract. It can be applied not only to remove wrinkles temporarily, but if used selectively in different muscles at the correct doses, you can actually change the general expression of the eyes.
When applied artistically, it can simultaneously reduce the “crow’s feet” and change the angle of the brow to the raised position— generally considered more attractive—due to the change in counteracting forces between muscles. The effects of Botox last approximately 4 months.
Alternatives to Botox include Dysport and Xeomin—also effective agents to reduce wrinkles. Patients often ask the difference between Botox and “fillers”. Botox merely relaxes the muscle to reduce superficial wrinkles; fillers are used to flatten deeper valleys that are considered “larger wrinkles”, such as Nasolabial folds. Fillers are also used to enhance lips, as well as to elevate depressed scars, flattening them and making them less noticeable. Fillers can also be used in the mid portion of the face to give a rejuvenating appearance by elevating the cheek bones, which is one of the hallmarks of a youthful face.
Weather it is Botox, fillers, or a surgical approach you are seeking in order to rejuvenate your appearance, I recommend that you always do your research and find a “core trained” Plastic Surgeon who has experience with the procedure you would like to have done.
Dr. Rafael G. Magana
935 Park Avenue, Suite 1B, NYC
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