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Botox is the popular name for a substance called botulinum toxin A, a type of neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulinum. Botulism is a very severe form of food poisoning whereby the toxins produced then attack the nervous system and cause paralysis, and in serious cases, this can prove fatal. But although the botulinum toxin A is a potentially fatal neurotoxin, it was first discovered in the late 1970s that the botulinum toxin had therapeutic applications and the toxin began to be used for the treatment of several disorders of the nervous system.

Botox is still used for a number of medicinal treatments, but it is perhaps more widely known for its application in anti-aging treatments for both men and women. When used for cosmetic purposes, botox injections are used to reduce deep frown lines between the eyes. The injection is not intended to paralyse the face as some people think, but merely to relax the muscles and stop the patient from frowning or subconsciously grimacing, thus creating further lines and deep wrinkles.

How are botox injections carried out?

The botulinum toxin comes as a crystalline substance and in order to inject it into the body, it must be added to a liquid, typically saline. The area of the face to be injected is cleaned and a local anaesthetic is applied to reduce the discomfort. Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, botox is injected.

What happens after the botox procedure?

You will have to sit in a semi-upright position for a few minutes to make sure you are feeling okay after the procedure. You will also be told not to lie down for between 2 and 4 hours to prevent the botox from drifting into a different part of the face. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for a few hours to reduce the risk of bruising. Certain medication, in particular, aspirin and ibuprofen, should also be avoided to reduce the risk of bruising.