Medical Uses of Botox

Botox or botulinum toxin is a lethal naturally occurring toxin, but can be used as powerful and highly effective medication for various medical conditions and for cosmetic purpose. The usefulness of Botox was discovered after 1950s, when scientists discovered that, injection of minute quantity of botulinum toxin type-A to muscles (especially in overactive muscles) results in decrease muscle activity and weakness, which (muscle weakness) can last up to 3-4 months.

Botulinum toxin blocks release of acetylcholine which is the neurotransmitter responsible for muscle contraction, from its stores in neurons and cause muscle weakness.

Cosmetic use of Botox:

Botox is most commonly used for cosmetic purpose. In the United States alone, approximately 5 million cosmetic procedures are done using Botox every year. In the US also the persons who can se Botox and persons eligible to do cosmetic procedure using Botox vary from State to State. Persons who provide Botox cosmetic procedure include plastic surgeons, dermatologists, dentists, aesthetic spa physicians etc.

For cosmetic purpose small quantity of botulinum toxin is injected into the skin, which causes paralysis of facial muscles (other muscles are not affected) and prevents development of wrinkles on face.

The following are medical uses of Botox:

  • Cervical dystonia also known as spasmodic torticolis.
  • Strabismus (Squint), excessive blinking (problem known as blepharospasm).
  • Excessive axillary sweating (hyperhidrosis) and excessive sweating. This treatment is approved by USFDA.
  • Migraine (especially severe form) and other headaches. The results for this treatment are conflicting.
  • Focal neuropathies, sometimes helpful with local intradermal injection of Botox.

There are also other medical conditions where Botox can be used, but not approved by USFDA and most other government authorities. Some doctors use them although not approved. These include:

  • Anal fissures, spasm of the vaginal muscles.
  • Dystonia of jaw, face, limbs etc. Pain in temporomandibular joint (jaw joint).
  • Incontinence due to neurogenic bladder, painful bladder syndrome.
  • Diabetic neuropathy, wound healing.
  • BHP (benign hyperplasia of prostate gland).
  • Dysfunction of vocal cord due to dystonia.
  • Problem of movement due to diseases of CNS such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinsonism, cerebral palsy etc.
  • Detrusor muscle overactivity.
  • Chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Sometimes Botox may also be used in some medical conditions which are not mentioned here.

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