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What is botulinum toxin type A?


The cosmetic form of botulinum toxin is a popular injectable that temporarily reduces or eliminates facial fine lines and wrinkles. The most commonly treated areas are frown lines, forehead creases, crow's feet near the eyes. Several other areas have been treated such as thick bands in the neck, thick jaw muscles, lip lines and gummy smiles.

Botulinum toxin is a purified substance that's derived from bacteria. Injections of botulinum toxin block the nerve signals to the muscle in which it was injected. Without a signal, the muscle is not able to contract. The end result is diminished unwanted facial wrinkles or appearance. Commonly known types of botulinum toxin type A injections include Botox®, Dysport® and Xeomin®.

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Botulinum toxin can be used to


  • Smooth crow's feet, forehead furrows, frown lines, lip lines and bunny lines

  • Diminish neck bands

  • Improve the appearance of skin dimpling of the chin

  • Lift the corners of the mouth

  • Soften a square jawline

  • Correct a gummy smile

The FDA has approved the use of Botox® for the frown lines and crow's feet, while Dysport® and Xeomin® are approved for frown lines only. All other uses are considered "off label."

Who is a good candidate for botulinum toxin injections?


Smiling, frowning, squinting and even chewing—basically any facial movement—can eventually lead to one of the most common signs of aging – wrinkles. They can make you appear tired or even angry when you are not. One of the quickest and safest remedies to remove wrinkles is an injection of botulinum toxin type A.

Botulinum toxin can be combined with other cosmetic skin procedures—such as dermal fillers or NovaThreads

to further improve your results. This combination of therapies can even help to prevent the formation of new lines and wrinkles.

What should I expect during a consultation for botulinum toxin injections?


During your botulinum toxin consultation be prepared to discuss:

  • Your goals

  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments

  • Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs

Your plastic surgeon may also:

  • Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors

  • Discuss likely outcomes and any risks or potential complications


Botulinum toxin is a nonsurgical injection that's given in your plastic surgeon's office.

The consultation is the time to ask your  surgeon questions. 

It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

What are the risks of botulinum toxin injections?


You may resume normal activities immediately.

One note of caution: Don't rub or massage the treated areas after the wrinkle treatment because it can cause the botulinum toxin to migrate to another area of your face. If this happens, you could have temporary facial weakness or drooping.

Although generally safe, botulinum toxin side effects and complications can include:

  • Bruising and pain at the injection site

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Headache

  • Nausea

  • Redness

  • Temporary facial weakness or drooping

  • It is very unlikely that the toxin might spread beyond the treatment area, causing botulism-like signs and symptoms such as breathing problems, trouble swallowing, muscle weakness and slurred speech

What should I expect during my recovery?


No anesthesia is required. There is no down time or recovery time for botulinum toxin injections.

You may resume normal activities immediately.

One note of caution: Don't rub or massage the treated areas after the wrinkle treatment because it can cause the botulinum toxin to migrate to another area of your face. If this happens, you could have temporary facial weakness or drooping.