Since 2000, yearly neuromodulator procedures, such as Botox, Xeomin and Dysport, in the U.S. have increased by 800%, with over 6 million procedures performed in 2013. So what exactly does this popular procedure do?
These neurotoxin procedures are typically viewed as a cosmetic minimally-invasive procedure that removes lines and wrinkles from the skin. They work by injecting a small dosage of neurotoxin into the skin of the targeted area. Once introduced, the neuromodulator temporarily paralyzes local muscles by preventing nerve cells from receiving signals. Ultimately, this is what causes the overlying skin to become freshened and wrinkle-free. Amazingly, these subtances not only keep skin looking young and fresh, but can actually provide many other health benefits.
What Else Can Neuromodulators Do?
The dramatic effect that Botox has in temporarily paralyzing muscles has a hidden array of benefits that many are not aware of. The discovery of neuromodulator benefits seems to be ongoing as this powerful treatment is further investigated. It now not only serves to reduce lines and wrinkles, it also has been clinically proven and FDA approved for various other conditions. Provided are a list of some of these additional benefits:
Migraine Relief- When patients first started receiving Botox treatments, many reported a decreased occurrence of migraines. Clinical tests were performed and it has now been shown that neuromodulators are indeed helpful in relieving chronic migraines. It is not entirely certain why when neuromodulators are injected, the pain of migraine is relieved. This added benefit has been observed when Botox and the other neurodulators are administered to the forehead, neck, and shoulder.
Sweat Prevention- Botox injections have been shown to treat hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating. Once injected, neuromodulators decrease the production of acetylcholine, which is a stimulant to sweat glands.
Muscle Pain Relief- For conditions like arthritis, Botox has been proven as an effective, FDA approved treatment method. By paralyzing local muscles, aches and pains are relieved. This effect has also been helpful in treating the jaw condition known as TMJ. In rare cases, Botox has even been linked to improving range of motion in areas believed to have lost function.
Lazy Eyes and Twitches- Just like anywhere on the body, the eyes function based on the contraction of muscles. When small doses of neuromodulators are introduced to areas around the eye, their paralyzing effect has been proven to treat strabismus (lazy eye) and bleparospasm (eye twitches).
Overactive Bladder Treatment- By injecting Botox to the bladder, it assists in increasing it capacity. This relieves overactive bladders for several months at a time.
Dr. Jan Zemplenyi is a cosmetic surgeon and owner of the Bel-Red Center for Aesthetic Surgery in Bellevue, WA.