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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tamer Rezk

Is botox really that safe?

Is botox actually safe?

Little known fact:

The word botox comes from a disease called botulinism - a type of life threatening food poisoning. The condition is caused by a toxin produced by Clostridium Botulinum (a bacteria) that leads to paralysis of the breathing function and death.

Perhaps another little known fact: the early medical uses of botox were not at all cosmetic. Botox was first used for conditions like bladder spasm experienced by patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. Botox was used to help patients with difficulty passing urine and it was found that injecting parts of the body with this ‘relaxant’ toxin was safe. The effects often lasted for a set period of time.

Of course, today botox is known for its use in the cosmetic industry aimed at reducing the wrinkling of the face. It is also used to treat other issues including excess sweating. In the case of cosmetic procedures the toxin is injected to specific areas of the face and causes temporary paralysis. It was first used in this way in 1989 and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002.

Here’s is what’s important:

Botox is indeed mostlysafe, and minimally invasive although the effects are not permanent and therefore the procedure needs repeating in regular intervals. For these reasons, it has been hailed as a cosmetic procedure with little in the way of complications. However, long term data and follow up is limited, and it is important to know that that complications can occur: pain at the injection site, paralysis of the wrong muscles (affecting vision), flu like symptoms and tummy upset.

My advice:

If you are thinking of undergoing a cosmetic procedure – see a certified doctor, i.e. a plastic surgeon. They will explain whether botox will help achieve the cosmetic appearances you want. It is important that anyone undergoing cosmetic procedures are aware of the pro’s and con’s. Be realistic, consider the potential complications and remember the substance you are paying to inject in your face has its roots in a very serious life threatening illness.

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