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  • Jean-Paul Abboud, M.D., Ph.D.

10 things you need to know about Botox (and other neuromodulators) that will prepare you for your fi

Botox San Diego

1. What are neuromodulators? Neuromodulators, such as Botox®, Xeomin®, Dysport®, are proteins that cause muscles to relax. When injected into the muscles of facial expression, they soften the wrinkles that develop around the eyes (i.e., crow's feet), between the brows (i.e., 11 lines and glabellar frown lines), and along the forehead. They can also help prevent against the formation of new wrinkles. Neuromodulators are additionally used to treat various conditions that cause muscle spasms, such as benign essential blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm, and migraines. 2. What is the difference between Botox®, Xeomin®, and Dysport®? Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport all work the same way as they share the same active ingredient, botulinum toxin A. They all relax muscles and smoothen wrinkles. The primary difference between these products is in the manufacturing process, where Botox and Dysport have an accompanying protein, while Xeomin does not have additives. A benefit of a pure-form injectable, such as Xeomin, is that the body is less likely to become resistant to it. Nevertheless, in a head-to-head study, Xeomin was found to be as effective as Botox. 3. What does the treatment feel like? During the treatment, Dr. Abboud uses a very fine needle to inject the neuromodulator into each specific muscle with only the minor discomfort of a tiny pinch. For those who prefer, a topical anesthetic cream or ice can be applied beforehand. Neuromodulator treatment takes about 15 to 20 minutes and is minimally invasive with no downtime. 4. Are there any immediate side effects? You may experience minor redness or swelling at the injection sites, but only momentarily, so you can go about your normal activities immediately after receiving treatment. Although uncommon, you may also have slight bruising at the injection sites, but nothing that a little concealer cannot hide. An unwanted effect of neuromodulator treatment can occur if the product diffuses into a muscle that is not intended to be treated. In the area around the eye, this can cause a brow or eyelid droop (ptosis), or even double vision. This has happened in every doctor’s office, but the more qualified and experienced your doctor is, the lower that risk. Fortunately, these effects are temporary and should resolve once the effect of the neuromodulator wears off. 5. What should I know after having a neuromodulator treatment? In the first 24 hours, it is recommended that you refrain from exercising or from receiving a facial or a massage. It is also helpful to avoid lying down for 3 to 4 hours following your treatment. 6. How long does a treatment last? In most patients, visible results of neuromodulator injection typically last between 3-4 months. 7. What results should I expect? While results will vary from one patient to another, in general, you should notice smoother skin with softer wrinkles and a more youthful appearance . 8. When will I start seeing the results of my treatment? The effects of your neuromodulator treatment may be noticed in as early as 2 to 3 days. However, it takes about 10 to 14 days to achieve maximum results. It may take longer in areas with stronger muscles, particularly in men. 9. I have a big event coming up. How soon before the event should I get a treatment? It is recommended that you schedule your neuromodulator treatment at least 2 weeks before an upcoming event. This allows for any bruising to subside and for the effects to become visible. 10. What is the recommended course of treatment for optimal results? For optimal results, schedule treatments every 3 to 6 months, or according to how you have responded to the prior treatment. The good news is that intervals between treatments may widen over time since your muscles may become more relaxed and require less maintenance.

Bonus: Is treatment with Botox, Xeomin, or Dysport expensive? Actually, treatment with neuromodulators is one of the least expensive cosmetic facial procedures since it is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed in the comfort and convenience of a physician’s office rather than at a surgery center. How much it costs, however, will vary depending on the number of areas treated or the amount of neuromodulator that is needed to produce the results you desire.

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