Wrinkle, Wrinkle, Fade Away

Wrinkle, wrinkle, you mar my day.
How can I make you fade away?

Facial wrinkles like the “11’S” between the eyes, crow’s feet, forehead furrows and lipstick lines mark the aging process. In addition, the lateral eyebrows and corner of the mouth droop leaving a sad impression. Medical studies have shown that other people perceive you less favourably when you have this appearance, and you yourself may feel less happy.

Fortunately, over the past 15 years neuromodulators such as Botox, Dysport and Xeomin have been developed to reverse these unhappy features. Nowadays they comprise the largest number of non-surgical treatments used for facial rejuvenation. They are employed as the first line of defence against aging and often used along with facial fillers. Many patients combine these treatments with surgical rejuvenation procedures such as eyelid, face, and forehead lifting.

To determine if you might be a good candidate for a neuromodulator, you should know how they work and what their effects are. These medications are proteins derived from the bacterium Onabotulinum Toxin A. They are injected with a very fine needle which causes minimal pain or discomfort. It is placed directly into the muscles we wish to modulate. The neuromodulator binds to the muscle, preventing the nerve fiber impulses from making the muscle contract. This is done by blocking the action of Acetylcholine (Ach), the chemical messenger that normally stimulates muscle contraction. This takes about 2 to 4 days to occur following the injection. Usually the effect lasts about 3 to 4 months, as over that time new nerve sprouts reconnect the nerve-muscle function.

Because muscle movement is decreased, the creation of wrinkles is decreased. Over several weeks the wrinkles become less noticeable even at rest. Or, if you want the lateral eyebrow elevated to open the eye and the droopy corner of the mouth elevated to take away the sad, Howdy Doody look, then special muscles are injected to allow the elevating muscles to work more effectively.

Optimally, neuromodulators are used to sculpt the action of the facial muscles, not completely eradicate their effect. In this way, we can create a very softened yet natural look. This makes you appear more youthful, relaxed and happy. Everyone is unique in their aesthetic goals, so your facial plastic surgeon will perform a detailed analysis and treatment plan so that you can mutually decide upon the best treatment for you. With this approach the vast majority of people are highly satisfied with their wrinkle reduction and happier appearance.

Neuromodulators have more than 15 years of safe use, confirmed by many studies. As with any treatment, there can be side effects, but these are fortunately rare, minimal and temporary. The first thing to prevent is unwanted bruising or swelling. Patients should avoid medications like aspirin or other blood thinners, take Arnica Montana, and apply cool compresses right away. Quite uncommon can be a transient droopy eyelid or saggy brow, or if lips are injected, some temporary difficulty saying “P’s” and “B’s.” These side effects can be avoided in the majority of cases. The very rare person, one in many hundreds, may not achieve the desired effect. Most often dosages can be altered to achieve a perfect result for you.

By working together with your doctor, you can determine the correct amount of neuromodulation in just the right place and enjoy 3 to 4 months of enhanced facial appearance and satisfaction that you look the way you feel.

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