This is a protein toxin made by bacteria that acts on muscle nerve fibres. It is injected into the target muscle and weakens or completely halts muscle contraction depending on the dose and muscle bulk.
As mentioned above, the toxin reduces or blocks muscle contraction- essentially relaxing targeted muscles. This effect can be used to decrease wrinkles that are formed due to overly tight muscles, but it can also weaken one muscle group relative to another and alter muscle balance. The strength of effect is determined by the dose administered relative to the size of the muscle targeted. The toxin also works on the nerves to sweat glands so it can be used to decrease sweating in the armpit and palms.
Although "toxin" sounds dangerous, it is very safe in humans and is used commonly in children in much higher doses than are normally used in cosmetic medicine. It should not be used by pregnant or breast feeding women because safety and transmission has not been adequately studied. It should also not be used in people with nerve or muscle disorders and those with auto-immune diseases. If you have had treatments in the past, but find they are becoming less effective it may be that you are beginning to develop antibodies to the toxin and you should mention this to your treating doctor.
There are currently 3 different formulations available in Australia. The dosing may be different between them, but each clinic usually favours one over the other and is familiar with the dose that is right for you. The price works out to be much the same overall as the unit strength is considered when pricing. We aren't allowed to mention brand names or which we use in our clinic on our website, but we can discuss each in detail during your consultation.
The three most common areas treated are the forehead, the frown lines and the crows feet, as these show the most obvious wrinkles. There are many other facial areas that can be treated too. You can choose to soften or completely block a muscle, but the latter may lead to unnatural and obvious results in some areas.
The injections are performed with very fine needles and most patients experience minimal discomfort during injection. Ice packs can be applied to the treatment areas immediately prior to injection for those who wish. We recommend topical anaesthetic cream for injections around the lip border as these hurt a little more. Bleeding is very minor and self limiting. Bruising is uncommon. To decrease your chances of both bleeding and bruising it is important to stop any medications that thin your blood a week prior to your treatment. These include non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, and fish oil. If you are being treated with warfarin, clopidogrel or a similar class of drugs you should not stop them for toxin treatment. It takes a few days for the toxin effects to be seen and 7-10 days for the final result.
Results may be seen as early as 24 hours after treatment, but it can take up to 7 or more days for the full effect to be seen. You may have a slight headache after treatment. You may take paracetamol or anti-inflammatory medication as usual. Redness and bumps from injection will settle soon after treatment, but the area may be a little tender and you may bruise. DO NOT massage the areas you have had treated as this may cause the toxin to diffuse to adjacent areas. You may clean your face ~ 4 hours after treatment. Avoid deep facial massage for 48 hours. Avoid bending over or lying down for 4 hours after treatment. Avoid heavy exercise for 4 hours after treatment. DO move the muscles you have had treated as this promotes uptake of the toxin at the neuromuscular junction.
price per unit
$15 per unit