Other conditions treated with Botulinum
Botulinum toxin is an interesting product; it works at the nerve endings on muscle or glands. With wrinkle treatments, it stops the expression muscles (that cause wrinkles) from contracting, and this improves the wrinkles in the skin. Botulinum toxin can also be used to weaken muscles for other therapeutic purposes. In the face, the following effects can be achieved:
- Subtle brow lift
- Balancing of some asymmetries (for example brow height)
- Improvement of 'popply' chin (dimpled appearance)
- Turning up the corners of the mouth
- Improving tight bands in the neck
- Reducing prominent jaw muscles (masseter)
- Reducing teeth grinding
Migraine and tension headaches
About 10 years ago, some of my patients having Botulinum for cosmetic reasons mentioned that their migraines (and tension headaches) improved after having the treatment; this was also noticed by other doctors, and patients with migraine started requesting this treatment. In 2010 botulinum toxin was approved as a preventive treatment for migraine by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
Botulinum Toxin is not a first line treatment for migraine, but is a good option when other treatments have not been effective.
The treatment is tailored to the each patient; it involves injections into the forehead muscles (the same ones that are treated in cosmetic treatments), the temporalis (jaw clenching) muscles and the muscles at the back of the scalp.
As with any botulinum treatment, the effect is not permanent, it lasts about 4 months. A 'side effect' of treatment for migraine is that forehead wrinkles are improved.
Excessive sweating is a difficult problem to treat. Areas commonly affected are the armpits, hands, feet and forehead. Botulinum stops the sweat glands from secreting sweat. Although Botulinum toxin is not a permanent solution (the effect lasts about 4 months), it is one of the most effective treatments. The treatment involves numerous small injections into the skin, using a very fine needle. A numbing cream (EMLA) may be used for armpit treatments, for the hands and feet I use a very cold spray or ice which makes the procedure more comfortable.
Many people grind their teeth at night, this causes jaw pain and wears the teeth down. Using Botulinum toxin to weaken the masseter muscles (jaw clenching muscles) is a useful treatment for this problem.