Botox/Dysport has both medical and cosmetic purposes. It can remove wrinkles on a temporary basis by weakening the muscles for a short period of time. In addition, it can be used as a medication to treat some muscular conditions. Botox is a powerful neurotoxin synthesized from a common bacteria.
The bacteria that Botox/Dysport is derived from is called clostridium botulinum. You can find it in forests, lakes, and soil. It’s also present in the organs and gills of shellfish, the intestinal tracts of mammals, and the digestive systems of fish. Neurotoxins disrupt the signals sent by the nervous system.
By diluting botulinum toxin, medical professionals can treat a variety of conditions.
When the toxin is used in very small concentrations, it can prevent the nerve cells from sending signals to the muscles. This causes the muscle to weaken. For muscles to contract, the nerves need to send a neurotransmitter to the place that muscle cells and nerves meet. This messenger, called acetylcholine, attaches to your muscle cell receptors and allows the muscles to relax or contract.
When Botox is injected, it prevents the nerves from releasing acetylcholine. This then prevents muscle cells from contracting. It can reduce abnormal contractions of the muscles.
Uses for Botox/Dysport
The most common use for Botox/Dysport is cosmetic. It reduces fine lines and facial wrinkles on a temporary basis.
Medical conditions can also be treated by the toxin. These include leaky bladders, excessive sweating, migraines, and eye squints. More than twenty medical conditions have been FDA approved for treatment with Botox, and others are being researched.
Botox has FDA approval to treat:
- Eyelid spasms
- Severe dystonia
- Chronic migraines
- Lazy eyes
- Excess sweating
- Limb spasticity
- Urinary incontinence
- Hemifacial spasm
- Overactive bladder
- Frown lines located between the eyebrows
- Wrinkles around the eyes
Some medical practitioners use Botox off-label to treat difficulty swallowing, overproduction of saliva, hay fever, anal sphincter dysfunction, and cerebral palsy.
How Botox/Dysport Is Injected
The toxin is used in extremely small concentrations and diluted in saline. From there, a medical practitioner will inject it directly into the tissue being treated. Botulinum toxin takes between one and three days to show effects. Rarely, it might take up to five days to see the full effects.
Information provided by Hannah Nichols and reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, APRN.