Everything You Need To Know About Botox

Botox FAQ

Table of Contents

If you’re interested in getting Botox, I highly recommend doing your research before seeing a doctor. In this article, I’ll reviews exactly what you need to know about Botox, including how it works and what to expect during treatment.

What is Botox?

Botox, along with Dysport and Xeomin, are neuromodulators that are used to relax the muscles of the face and other parts of the body.  

How does Botox work?

Botox works by preventing a neuron called the presynaptic neuron from releasing a messenger molecule known as acetylcholine. This messenger is what causes the muscles of the face to contract and cause fine lines and wrinkles. By decreasing the amount of acetylcholine in a particular area, the facial muscle in that area relaxes and decreases the appearance of the wrinkle.

How long does it take to work?

In general, it takes about 2 to 3 days to see the effects of neuromodulators such as Botox. Fine lines and wrinkles will continue to smooth over the next several days, leading to a peak effect at around 2 weeks.

For most patients, the effects of Botox tend to last around 3 to 4 months.

Exactly who is Botox for?

Botox is for patients who wish to soften the appearance of horizontal forehead lines, glabellar furrows (“11 lines”), and crow’s feet.

It can also be used to treat nasal “bunny lines,” a “gummy” smile, and banding in the neck.

Why would your doctor recommend Botox?

A doctor may recommend Botox to treat any wrinkle that has a dynamic component to it. This means any wrinkle that forms as a result of the contraction of the muscles of the face.

Areas that do not tend to respond to Botox include the nasolabial folds and marionette lines. These areas are best treated using dermal fillers.

What are some common side effects of Botox?

The most common side effects of Botox are bruising and swelling. After the Botox is injected, the patient will likely notice small swollen areas at the injection site that tend to dissipate over 30 minutes.

Bruising with Botox is rare, but occurs more commonly in patients who are taking blood thinners. More serious side effects, such as a droopy eyelid, double vision, or a droopy mouth are more common when Botox is injected for medical conditions such as blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm.

On average, how much does Botox cost?

Pricing for Botox can vary from provider to provider. Some doctors choose to charge by the unit, while others will charge by area.

As with any major purchase, it is important to consult a few different providers to find one that you are comfortable with.

Does insurance cover Botox?

Insurance does not cover Botox for cosmetic reasons. However, most insurances do cover Botox for medical conditions such as blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm, and hyperhidrosis.

If you are suffering from one of these conditions, consult your insurance company to find out if the service is covered.

How should I prepare for getting Botox?

There is nothing that you have to do to prepare for the appointment. Simply come willing to share your concerns and questions that you have about the treatment.

What happens on the day of getting Botox?

On the day of getting Botox, your doctor will take a through history. This will include your chief complaint, past medical and surgical history, medications, and allergies.

Once you have decided on a treatment plan, your doctor may apply topical numbing cream to provide more comfort during the procedure. Your doctor will then inject the Botox into the appropriate areas and may provide you with an ice pack after the procedure for additional comfort. You can go back to your normal life immediately after the procedure.

Will Botox make me feel numb and look frozen?

Botox is not known to cause numbness as it affects motor function as opposed to sensory function. The goal of treatment is to soften the wrinkles while preserving your ability to make facial expressions.

When injected properly, Botox can produce beautiful, natural results. Others will think that you went away on vacation and are getting more sleep, rather than you had a treatment done.

If I stop Botox appointments, what will happen?

Honestly, it depends. If you stop getting Botox after a period of time, your face will return to normal.

On the other hand, if you have been getting Botox for several months or years, your face will look still look improved even if you stop, because the muscles of your face have been relaxed for so long.

Is Botox addictive?

Botox is not addictive. Most patients who undergo treatment with Botox make the conscious choice to return because they love the effects so much!

If you have additional questions about Botox, or other neuromodulators, feel free to ask them in the comments below!

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Paul Johnson, MD
Dr. Paul Johnson is a board-certified ophthalmologist with subspecialty training in cosmetic and reconstructive oculoplastic surgery. He performs facial rejuvenation procedures including upper and lower eyelid blepharoplasty (eyelid lift/contouring), brow lifts, Botox injections, soft tissue fillers (Radiesse/Juvederm/Restylane), and chemical peels with meticulous attention to detail. Dr. Johnson is also skilled in reconstructive oculoplastics including ptosis repair, excision, and reconstruction of eyelid skin cancer, orbital decompression surgery, repair of orbital fractures, eye socket reconstruction, management of facial nerve paralysis (Bell’s palsy), blocked tear duct repair (dacryocystorhinostomy), ectropion and entropion repair, management of thyroid eye disease, enucleation and evisceration surgery, and the repair of orbital, eyelid, and tear duct trauma. He attended Johns Hopkins University and Jefferson Medical College. He completed his ophthalmology residency at the prestigious New York Eye & Ear Infirmary, and his oculoplastics fellowship at the top-rated Wills Eye Institute. He has authored multiple publications and has been actively involved in teaching future ophthalmologists at both New York Eye & Ear and Wills Eye Institute.