The softening of wrinkles using botulinum toxin injections are a long established treatment for anyone wanting to improve the fine lines and wrinkles caused by ageing.
The anti-wrinkle injections using botulinum toxin have been used by ophthalmologists & oculoplastic surgeons for 20 years. Oculoplastic consultant surgeons routinely use botulinum toxin injections in their NHS practice for the treatment of facial neurological disorders e.g. blepharospasm and thus become expert in the complex facial musculature, dosages of botulinum toxin and injection techniques.
In the UK, Vistabel® is the only botulinum toxin currently licensed for cosmetic use. Although identical in use and formulation to its manufacturer's (Allergan) other botulinum toxin product (Botox®), Vistabel has been brought out due to strict relicensing requirements by pharmaceutical watchdogs and regulatory boards, to help emphasise its cosmetic license from Botox's therapeutic license. In a similar move in the US, Allergan's botulinum toxin for cosmetic use is known as Botox Cosmetic
As part of the normal ageing process, facial skin will start to lose some of its volume, fat and elasticity. The effects of the fine muscles of facial expression which attach to the skin become more pronounced with deepening of the facial lines and extra wrinkle formation. The injections temporarily block the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles which cause wrinkles, thus causing wrinkle relaxation and softening. It is desirable to gently weaken the action of different muscles but not paralyse them completely since this can result in an unnatural frozen expression or facial drooping. Similarly, it is important not to cause paralysis of adjacent muscles. The exact dosage and correct placement for each injection is thus critical to limit these unwanted side effects.
Wrinkle relaxing injections using botulinum toxin are therefore best for wrinkles which become more apparent with facial expression-also known as dynamic wrinkles.
Treatment is fairly non-invasive, comprising of a small number of minute injections into the area being treated. Patients can usually return to work immediately, with the effects lasting 3-6 months depending on the patient.