Does Botox Kill You?

by Andy Cheng Director

Botulinum toxin, or more commonly referred to as 'Botox', is the most popular cosmetic procedure performed by doctors worldwide. With more than 3 million procedures done globally, it is not surprising that people will wonder if Botox is safe. 

Furthermore, the recent events that unfolded over the last few months involving the death of 2 women in Hong Kong and Singapore immediately after a cosmetic treatment threw people into a state of confusion. People are now becoming increasingly concerned and worried about undergoing aesthetic treatments, especially Botox.


We speak to Dr. Siew Tuck Wah, Medical Director of Radium Medical Aesthetics to find out if Botox treatment is dangerous. 


What is Botox?


Botox is a neurotoxic protein produced by Clostridium botulinum. 


There are eight known types of botulinum toxin, named type A-H. Types A and B are used in medicine to treat various muscle spasms and diseases characterized by overactive muscle activity. 


Common commercial brands of botulinum toxin are marketed under brand names BotoxDysport, and Xeomin, among others.


Botulinum toxin type A is the most common cosmetic procedure performed worldwide with an estimate of nearly 3 million injections per year.


Is Botox dangerous?


Paracelsus, a Swiss physician and a pioneer of ‘medical revolution’ once said, “All things are poisons and there is nothing that is harmless, the dose alone decides that something is no poison.”


Botox, just like any medication, has risks and benefits. Although Botox is a neurotoxin, which sounds scary, it is perfectly safe as long as it is administered by a medical doctor. 


To ensure that you are in safe hands, you need to go to an experienced doctor who has performed Botox treatment before. The doctor will assess your skin and determine the dosage required. He will also advise if Botox is a suitable treatment to address your concerns. 


What happens to your body when you receive a Botox treatment?


Botox in its original form is a concentrate. Before injecting into your skin, the doctor needs to dilute it with saline to make it injectable. By diluting it with saline, the doctor is essentially watering down its full effects so that it becomes safe for use. 


The chemicals kick into action, blocking nerve transmission in nearby muscles, temporarily freezing the area to reduce its movement. In the case of a wrinkle treatment, the injected muscle can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften, and also prevent new ones from forming.


Effects of Botox remain localized in the area and it does not spread all over the body as it does not have a systemic effect. You should, however note that Botox may migrate between 2 and 3 cm from the point of injection. Simply put, you may experience uneven facial expression, including a lopsided smile or droopy eyelids. Again, these unwanted, harmless side effects are temporary.


It is also common for the injection site to swell or become red or bruised for a few days if the doctor is inexperienced. 


Once the treatment is over, the effects usually last for up to four months and a touch-up is needed again. 


So what happens when Botox treatment goes wrong?


Before undergoing a Botox treatment for wrinkles and fine lines, a responsible doctor should explain the benefits and potential side effects to you. The function of Botox is to temporarily paralyze overactive muscles. In rare cases, the toxin can spread beyond the injection site to other parts of the body, paralyzing muscles used for breathing and swallowing, which may cause breathing difficulties and subsequently, death.


When the treatment goes wrong, you may exhibit “botulism-like symptoms” such as muscle weakness, difficulty in breathing, speaking or swallowing, vision problems, and bladder control issues. 


Although experiencing such adverse side effects are extremely rare, they should be convincing enough to deter anyone to go bargain hunting for Botox.

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About Andy Cheng Advanced   Director

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Joined APSense since, August 5th, 2017, From Singapore, Singapore.

Created on Mar 22nd 2019 01:59. Viewed 231 times.


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