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What is Botulinum Toxin?

Botox®, botulinum toxin type A or OnabotulinumtoxinA is actually a toxin, which is created from bacteria that causes a condition known as botulism. The Botulinum toxin can actually block the nerve activity within the muscles, leading to a reduced activity in the muscles. Initially, Botox was used to treat cervical dystonia, severe underarm sweating and muscle stiffness, but today, its most popular use happens to be to treat fine lines and improve the tautness of facial skin.

Types of Botulinum Toxin

While most people might think that Botox is only meant to treat muscle related problems, there are actually several types of Botox and some of these include:

Onabotulinumtoxin A

This is the variety that has been used for the longest time and was one of the first to be approved by FDA. Its uses include:

Medical – Being one of the most potent versions of the bacteria, it can be used to treat medical conditions such as blepharospasm, strabismus, hyperhidrosis, poststroke spasticity and even headaches and back spasms.

Cosmetic – The cosmetic usage of Botox was approved by USFDA only in the early 2000s and could be used to treat wrinkles and fine lines. Utilising the type A version of the toxin, this has today become one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in the world. Today, it can help treat crow’s feet, neck lines, melolabial folds, hyperkinetic facial lines as well as horizontal forehead lines.


This is a type B toxin, which when used in the right dosage can reduce the production of neutralizing as well as non-neutralizing antibodies. The main use of this type of Botox is mainly for cosmetic purposes, however studies are showing positive results for treating cervical dystonia.


This is yet another type A toxin, but this is used exclusively to treat medical conditions such as hemifacial spasms, blepharospasm and spasmodic torticollis.

Possible Risks of Botox

There are a fair few risks involved with Botox injections, including:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Severe weakness in the muscles
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Swelling in eyes or blurred vision
  • Inefficient bladder control or burning sensation while urinating
  • Pain in the chest or palpitations
  • Increase in sweat
  • Headache, exhaustion, stiffness in various body parts


Before, During & After the Procedure


Before you can be administered Botox, there are a few tests and checks the doctor will have to run on you. They will be checking for:

  • Infections in the area where the Botox has to be injected
  • Bladder infections
  • Conditions such as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Lambert-Eaton syndrome or myasthenia gravis
  • Breathing conditions such as bronchitis or asthma
  • Muscle weakness in the facial muscles or trouble swallowing
  • Bleeding tendency or heart related issues
  • Previous surgeries, blood thinning medication or other pre-existing medical conditions

In addition, the doctor will also need to know whether you have had Botox injections in the past and whether there were any complications or side effects then. Pregnant women and nursing mothers need to have an in-depth conversation with their doctor, before deciding to go for the procedure.


It is important that you get your Botox injections only from medically trained professionals, because the injection has to be administered into a muscle and only professionals will know how to do it. The injection could be administered in more than one site at a time, but this is something that the doctor will have pre-decided.

Once the sites have been demarcated, the doctor might use a marker pen to make marks, so as to ensure that the injections are made at the precise sites. After this, it is just a matter of injecting the toxin, very carefully into the muscle.


There might be bruising, but it will be temporary and will disappear in a few hours. Many a times, people have complained of having a headache, which could last for up 40 hours. In a very small percentage of people, there is eyelid drooping, but this is a very rare scenario. This normally happens, when the Botox moves around, which is why your doctor will suggest that you not rub the area for a minimum of 12 hours.

You will be asked to not lie down for a few hours post the injection as that too can lead to eye lids drooping. You will also be given specific instructions on how to take care of the area for the next few days and when you will have to return for a repeat session.

Questions Asked By The Patients


What Happens If A Dose Is Missed?

Botox is meant to provide temporary results, which means that if a dose is missed those results will not be visible. Apart from that, there will be little to worry about.

What Happens In The Case Of An Overdose?

If you notice any abnormal symptoms, it is important that you call your doctor immediately, because if caught in time, there is chance for a cure.

What All Needs To Be Avoided?

Ideally you should not drive immediately after Botox injections, because could be a slight vision impairment. Ideally you should not use any underarm deodorants or antiperspirants, especially if you are being treated for excessive underarm sweating. Take some time to return to your normal routine.

Will It Hurt?

Only as much as it hurts to get an injection; the pain is that of a needle prick and the solution being pumped in. There can be a little discomfort, but it should fade away in some time.