Botulinum Toxin Injections—Medical
(Botulinum Toxin Type A; Botulinum Toxin Type B; Botox Injections)
Pronounced: baut-U-lie-num tock-sin in-jek-shuns
by Shara Aaron, MS, RD
Botulinum toxin is made from a type of bacteria. It is toxic to the nerves. An injection puts this toxin into muscle. There, it blocks the chemical signal from the nerves to muscles. This will decrease the muscle contraction.
Botulinum toxin is used for cosmetic and medical reasons. The injection process is often called botox injection, although any brand of the botulinum toxin may be used.
Reasons for Procedure
The injection is FDA-approved to treat:
The injection has also been used to treat other conditions, such as:
Possible Complications TOP
Complications are rare. When they occur, they are temporary and mild. Side effects are related to the site of injection. For example, if injections take place near the eyes, there may be complications with eyelids or brow line.
Temporary issues may include:
The following are less common reactions. They are generally mild and do not last long.
Other complications that may occur include:
The toxin can also interact with medicines, such as antibiotics. Tell your doctor about all of the medicines that you are taking.
You should not have botox if you:
What to Expect TOP
Most often, none is given. Some patients may prefer to have the area numbed for comfort. In this case, a topical anesthetic may be used.
Description of the Procedure
A thin needle will be used. The doctor will inject the toxin through the skin into the targeted muscle. You will often need several injections in a small area.
There is very little recovery needed, but remember to:
How Long Will It Take?
The length will depend on the number of sites involved. It is often less than 20 minutes.
Will It Hurt?
You may have some minimal discomfort.
Normal activities may be resumed after the procedure. For the best recovery, follow your doctor's instructions.
The toxin temporarily weakens targeted muscles. The treatment lasts up to four months. With repeated use, the effects may last longer.
Call Your Doctor TOP
Contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Society for Dermatologic Surgery
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Canadian Dermatology Association
Allergan Physician Production Information. Botox cosmetic (botulinum toxin type A). Published April 2008.
Ondo WG, Gollomp S, Galvez-Jimenez N. A pilot study of botulinum toxin A for headache in cervical dystonia. Headache . 2005;45(8):1073-1077.
Ward A, Roberts G, Warner J, et al. Cost-effectiveness of botulinum toxin type A in the treatment of post-stroke spasticity. J Rehabil Med . 2005;37(4):252-257.
11/4/2009 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamicmedical.com/what.php : FDA gives update on botulinum toxin safety warnings. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov... . Updated August 3, 2009. Accessed November 4, 2009.
3/19/2010 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamicmedical.com/what.php : FDA approves Botox to treat spasticity in flexor muscles of the elbow, wrist and fingers. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov... . Updated March 9, 2010. Accessed March 19, 2010.
5/17/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ : Jackson JL, Kuriyama A, Hayashino Y. Botulinum toxin A for prophylactic treatment of migraine and tension headaches in adults: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2012;307(16):1736-1745.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2013