Dr. Paul Lubitz at Art of SKIN Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Surgery: What you need to know before selecting a neuromodulator
January 18, 2016
Dr. Lubitz of Art of SKIN Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Surgery discusses 4 things you should know before electing a neuromodulator treatment
The appearance of wrinkles or fine lines on the skin is a source of frustration for many people. Yes, it’s easy to dismiss this kind of frustration as simple vanity. But, the reality is that visible signs of aging not only inspire frustration, but can also yield a genuine loss of confidence and self-esteem, and physically display an outward age much older that a person feels on the inside.
It’s no wonder then that Botox treatments and other similar Neuromodulator treatments (such as Dysport) steadily increase in popularity each year. In fact, as recently quoted by CNN, men are now jumping on the bandwagon, with 385,000 men in the United States alone receiving Botox treatment in 2013.
But, getting this work done is not like taking a pill or applying some cream to one’s face. The injection of a Neuromodulator is an important surgical skin procedure that requires the expertise of a trained and experienced dermatologist in order to best ensure the most safe and effective outcomes. After all, it is important to remember in the first place that the use of Botox for reducing wrinkles was actually discovered by a Dermatologist (a Canadian dermatologist in fact), and secondly, that Botox has been widely used in the specialty of dermatology for many years long before it became as widely used as it is today in the hands of many other physicians and medical specialties. Many of us know either first hand or by reading in the news that Botox or other Neuromodulator treatments undertaken by untrained or inexperienced hands can lead to embarrassing, if not highly dangerous situations for patients.
The more you know about Neuromodulator treatments, the more effectively you can decide whether such a treatment would be a right choice for you. Therefore, we thought we would lay out several key points about Botox treatments that can allow you to make more informed personal decisions.
How does a Neuromodulator or muscle relaxer such as Botox work?
This is an excellent question. After all, it really is important for patients to have some idea of the science behind Botox treatments and how it minimizes the appearance of wrinkles.
Let’s briefly explain.
Many wrinkles on the face are caused by the underlying contraction of facial muscles. What Neuromodulators like Botox do is block the signals that go from the nerves to the corresponding muscles. This way, muscles no longer contract, which causes wrinkles to ease and soften. However, it is important to note that not all facial wrinkles though are the result of muscle’s contracting; only those wrinkles that are called dynamic wrinkles (or rhytides) will respond to neuromodulator treatment. This is another example of where an experienced Dermatologist is very important as they are highly trained skin specialists and have as part of their core training an in-depth understanding of skin and muscle anatomy – critical for knowing where (and where not) Botox can be used safely and effectively.
What areas of the face are most effectively treated with Botox injections?
You may have just one area of your face that you would like treated with Botox; you may have several areas. Either way, it’s useful to know what parts of the face are safe and recommended for Botox treatment.
The most common – and the most appropriate – use for Botox is in treating the frown lines between the eyebrows (the glabella) and the Crow’s Feet (lateral canthal lines) around the eyes. Over the past several years, an increasing number of physicians have begun offering Botox treatments in other areas of the face, such as the jaw, upper lip and neck areas. But, Dr. Paul Lubitz, a trained and board certified dermatologist practicing in Canmore, Canada and owner of Art of SKIN Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, cautions against using Botox in these parts of the face, unless ideally performed by a dermatologist, a certified medical skin specialist. “[Getting Botox treatment] in the lower face, jaw or neck can have benefits but it does have its definite risks,” comments Dr. Paul Lubitz. “In certain cases, there is the risk that a patient may not be able to move his or her neck, experience difficulty breathing or even form certain shapes with their mouth. That’s obviously what we do not want.”
How long do Botox injections on average last?
As described, Botox treatments work by blocking the receptors that send nerve signals to facial muscles. However, your body naturally makes replacement receptors following treatment.
How long it takes for blocked receptors to be replaced by new ones varies from person to person. But, generally, the average length of time that Botox injections last will be between three and six months.
What medications should patients avoid taking prior to Botox treatment, if any?
In the past, dermatologists have recommended that patients avoid taking medications like Aspirin, Excedrin, Ibuprofen and St. John’s Wart seven days prior to Botox treatment.
But, Dr. Paul Lubitz strikes another helpful caveat here: “Every patient is different. So, to say that every patient has to stop taking Aspirin or Ibuprofen before treatment would be inaccurate … Instead, for a person considering getting Botox done, it’s best that they visit an educated skin specialist, a Board Certified Dermatologist, who is experienced in Botox treatments and have that doctor advise them if firstly, Botox would be an appropriate option to address their particular wrinkle concerns, in addition to secondly, which areas could be effectively and safely treated with a neuromodulator, and finally to give the patient a clear indication what medications to avoid prior to treatment, if any, as well as any other pertinent post procedure considerations.”