Botox® is best known as the world’s leading treatment for frown lines and crow’s feet. Injectable neuromodulators like Botox® relax wrinkles by temporarily freezing small muscles around the eyes and brows, creating instantly smoother skin. Botox® only takes about 15 minutes to administer, and the results of one injection session can last for three months or longer.
With so much attention being paid to the age-lifting effects of Botox®, it’s easy to forget how versatile neuromodulators really are. Long before Botox® became our preferred way to fight dynamic wrinkles, researchers discovered that it had a range of therapeutic benefits. In fact, scientists are still investigating potential new uses for this compound. Before you arrange a consultation with Dr. Silverton, take a moment to review the following alternative uses for Botox®—You may discover one that applies to you.
5 Alternative Uses for Botox®
- Treatment for strabismus and blepharospasm.
Long before Botox® was approved for cosmetic use in 2002, it was being successfully employed to treat eye muscle disorders. This is actually how the cosmetic benefits of Botox® were discovered: During the 1970s, researchers noticed that treating strabismus (crossed or wandering eyes) and blepharospasm (uncontrolled blinking or twitching) with neuromodulators also led to a visible reduction in wrinkles.
- Facial lifting and slimming.
Though Botox® has traditionally been used around and above the eyes, many clinicians have begun applying this treatment to the lower face as well. Injecting Botox® into the masseter (chewing) muscles can gradually decrease their volume, sculpting a slimmer and more feminine jawline. Botox® also shows promise for treating smile lines and wrinkles around the nose.
- Relief from bruxism and TMD pain.
Medically, injecting Botox® into the masseter muscles reduces jaw discomfort associated with the temporomandibular joint disorder. By relaxing these muscles, Botox® alleviates the chronic tension that causes facial soreness, headaches, and other symptoms in patients with TMD. Botox® also prevents bruxism (nocturnal tooth grinding) in most people with TMD.
- Fighting depression.
Botox® hasn’t been approved by the FDA as a treatment for depression, but ongoing research suggests that neuromodulators may support patients’ mental health. Scientists think the way we use our face can influence some types of depression (this is known as the facial feedback hypothesis). Immobilizing some of the muscles involved in frowning appears to limit negative emotional feedback, leading to a reduction in depression symptoms. Studies have shown that this effect occurs even in patients who don’t have noticeable frown lines, so it’s not tied to the compound’s cosmetic benefits.
- Smoothing away chest wrinkles.
As women get older, they sometimes notice a “fan” of lines forming between their breasts. Many injectors are now using Botox® to eliminate these wrinkles without invasive surgery. Botox® can also be useful for treating certain types of neck wrinkles (usually in combination with dermal fillers).
To get the most out of Botox®—whether you’re interested in it for medical or cosmetic reasons—you’ll need to find the right injector. Plastic surgeons make a great choice in this area because they have extensive training in both traditional and aesthetic medicine. To learn more about how Botox® can benefit you, contact board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. John Silverton to arrange a consultation.