Botox side effects are experienced by a significant number of patients who have this most popular of cosmetic treatments. In 2011 around 5.7 million Botox procedures were carried out in the U.S. alone, and only half of these were performed by plastic surgeons.
Part of the reason for the popularity of Botox is that it is one of the cheapest cosmetic treatments available, often costing only a few hundred dollars.
Americans underwent almost 14 million cosmetic procedures and spent over $10 billion in 2011 (ref: The Guardian, UK... American Society of Plastic Surgeons statistics for 2011). And not all them went according to plan. Some were life threatening.
1. Pain/Infection at the Injection Site.
Most people don't like being jabbed with a needle very much, because it often hurts. But other complications include bruising, swelling, redness, inflammation, bleeding, and infection.
2. Allergic Reactions.
Some people may be allergic to the ingredients in Botox. Symptoms can include swelling (of face, lips, tongue or throat), itching, a rash or red welt, dizziness (2-10%), fainting, wheezing/difficulty breathing, and asthma. Others may develop an allergy after an increased number of injections are given, and a greater quantity of Botox is injected. The body's immune system can develop antibodies.
3. Muscle Droop/Loss of Tone.
Botox works by blocking nerve impulses to muscle tissues effectively paralysing them. If too large a dose is given, or the Botox travels or is deposited in the wrong location, it can lead to complications like numbness (2-10%), difficulty swallowing (2-10%), drooping eye-lids, eyes that won't close, blurred vision, dry eyes, reduced vision, or swollen eyelids.
4. Other Possible Botox Side Effects.
... dry mouth (2-10%), headaches, neck pains, fatigue (2-3%), flu-like symptoms (2-10%), respiratory infection, fever, pharyngitis, loss of bladder control, irregular heart beat, chest pain sometimes radiating to arm or shoulder, difficulty talking, nausea (2-3%), diarrhoea, loss of appetite, ringing in the ears, increased sweating (other than under arm-pits), watery eyes, inflammation of the cornea, or increased sensitivity to light.
5. Inter-action with other Drugs/Medications.
Your doctor needs to know if you are taking medications, antibiotics, muscle relaxants, cold or sleep medication, certain vitamins or supplements, and some herbal preparations, as some may interact badly and may increase the effect of botulinum toxin and increase the risk of Botox side effects.
6. Contra-Indicated for some Existing Medical Diseases.
People suffering from diseases that affect nerves and muscles (like Myasthenia Gravis, Lambert-Eaton Syndrome, or Lou Gehrig's Disease) should avoid this procedure.
7. Development of Resistance.
Some patients achieve long lasting effects from the treatment, while others seem to develop a resistance to the ingredients and need to have treatments more frequently.
* Botox is currently approved by the Federal Drug Authority in the USA for 18 to 65 year-olds.
* It is not recommended for pregnant women, women who are breast feeding or soon plan to, or women trying to conceive a child.
* Botox contains botulinum toxin type A, human albumin (a protein from blood plasma), and sodium chloride.
* Researchers have concluded that our facial expressions are important in conveying our feelings and emotions to other people, and also influence our own brain in interpreting how we feel about ourselves. Their studies have indicated that elimination of these facial expressions can have detrimental emotional effects on patients as well as those they interact with.
* Some neurologists are concerned that there are no long term studies about neurological side effects or effects on the brain and nervous system.
* A question mark has also been raised as to whether long term immobilisation/paralysis of facial muscles may lead to their atrophy due to lack of use which may then lead to looser, sagging skin in later years.
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