Botox: Killer or Fountain of Youth?

The answer is: both. Botox is formulated from a neurotoxin (specifically botulinum toxin A) produced by Clostridium botulinum. When ingested in food, such as improperly handled meat, the toxin leads to a condition called botulism, which in serious cases leads to respiratory failure in humans and animals. The first sign of botulism is paralysis of the facial muscles, which is precisely the effect of Botox injections, but in a controlled way.

The therapeutic uses of Botox have been well-established since the 1960s. The use of Botox as a cosmetic treatment, however, only received US Food and Drug Administration approval in 2002. Other medical applications received FDA approval in 1989. The most common usage for Botox includes treatment of:

  • Blepharospasm
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Severe underarm sweating
  • Strabismus
  • Wrinkles
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)

As mentioned earlier, Botox is a neurotoxin that paralyzes specific muscles or blocks neurotransmission, but the effects are usually temporary. Treatments are effective for up to four months in some cases, such as wrinkle removal, and require regular applications.

The rationale behind Botox is relatively simple: prevention of certain muscles from moving. Wrinkles develop through the regular contraction of certain muscles that become more pronounced with age and loss of skin elasticity. What Botox does is to paralyze the muscles in the forehead, for example, to keep them moving and continually creasing the skin. Over time with regular treatment, the depth of the wrinkles will decrease. Any remaining creases can be smoothened out using “fillers.”

The application of Botox may seem like a simple enough procedure, but it is best administered by a medical doctor specializing in cosmetic procedures or a dermatologist. There are cases when complications may arise. Botox is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, those on blood-thinning medication or certain food supplements, and those with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

What You Should Know About Nose Jobs

Rhinoplasty, more commonly known as a nose job, is a surgical procedure for reshaping the nose by altering the bones and cartilage that make it up. It can make a nose bigger, smaller, thinner, wider, change the angle, remove defects, or repair damage. In some cases, rhinoplasty is necessary to remove obstructions or to correct the set of a nose after it has been broken. In most cases, however, it is elective and cosmetic surgery.

Most people who are unhappy with their noses think of rhinoplasty as a way to solve their problem, and if it goes as expected it most likely will. While their problem may not be as bad as that of Edmond Rostand’s character Cyrano de Bergerac who hid his suffering under a bantering or belligerent attitude, it can still have a significant impact on their personal and sometimes professional lives. Unfortunately, nose jobs don’t always go as expected. There are a lot of well-known botched nose jobs that illustrate just how bad it can get, and highlight the importance of finding a reputable, experienced plastic surgeon.

Rhinoplasty is usually done by a specialist trained in plastic surgery or otolaryngology (ear-nose-throat specialist), for good reasons. It is very easy to do a bad nose job because it is right in your face, so to speak. Even the slightest error is immediately apparent, making the whole face look odd or off-kilter. And when things go wrong, a minimum wait of 12 months is necessary before most surgeons will perform a corrective procedure, so the patient will have to live with that mistake for that long. Hopefully, the next time will go better, but there’s really no guarantee.

Even when the surgeon is extremely skilled, there are still a lot of things that can go wrong. In some cases, the patient doesn’t heal well, or an infection develops. If you must have your nose done, make sure you get the very best doctor available if you want a good chance of getting the desired results.