Facial Muscle Spasm

Botulinum toxin injection therapy (also known as "Botox therapy") is used to treat dystonia a neuromuscular disorder that produces involuntary muscle contractions, or spasm that affects muscles that control movement in the eyes, neck, face, voice box, or the smooth muscle in the bladder and bowel. The goal of the therapy is to reduce muscle spasm and pain.

Botulinum toxin is the natural protein that helps reduce and prevent muscular spasms. Muscle spasms are the result of chemical signals sent to the muscles from the nerves making the muscles contract. Botulinum toxin is effective in preventing muscular spasms as it blocks these impulses, preventing contraction of specified muscles.

Botulinum toxin is a product of the same bacterium that causes food poisoning; a high dose of botulinum toxin is potentially fatal. However, the dose administered in injections is too negligible to cause any harmful effects from the toxin.

With such toxic properties, its hard to believe that botulinum toxin is so helpful. Its benefits are three-fold: in treating excessive muscular contraction; in treating conditions of excessive glandular secretion, specifically sweating; in preventing muscles contracting for cosmetic reasons.

Conditions of muscle spasm are relatively common and can cause great discomfort, pain and distress. Relaxation of the contracting muscles in spasm can be achieved by mechanical, chemical or surgical means. Botulinum toxin is a one of the more prominent of these treatments. However, prior to surgical or chemical interventions, physical treatment is often administered to see if the muscles are capable of stretching to a relaxed position.

Specifics of Treatment

Botulinum toxin has been implemented safely in thousands of procedures over its ten years in mainstream medical usage. Botulinum toxin is a standard procedure for spasmodic torticollis cases, a muscular spasm that results in the head and neck "pulling" in one direction. Botulinum toxin can also be used in a variety of other procedures.

Botulinum toxin is diluted with salt water and inserted directly into the muscle through an ultra-fine needle, and patients may receive five to ten injections.

The effects of this treatment are not permanent. Although the toxin permanently attaches to the nerve-ending, the nerve soon produces new channels to the muscle to eventually allow the muscle to contract again. The effects of botulinum toxin are noticeable from seven days and last from six weeks to six months, although typically, the treatment remains beneficial for three to four months. Repeated procedures are therefore common. However, over exposure to botulinum toxin creates a risk of the body becoming accustomed to the botulinum toxin and generating antibodies to disable its function. Because of this, most physicians agree that spacing botulinum toxin treatments using as little as is effective, produces the best results.

Risks

As with all medical procedures, there are certain risks associated with this type of procedure. Although minimal, the side effects can result in

  • short lived pain and discomfort for the patient.
  • Soreness can occur at the sites of injection, although this can be targeted with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. An ice pack on the sore area can also help numb any pain in the short run.
  • Patients may also feel weakness in the particular muscles that have been injected or an overall muscular soreness although this as well as other side effects are quick to disappear.

By nature, all medical procedures carry an element of risk. Before embarking on any medical procedure, it is advisable to consult fully with the McLean Academy so that our qualified staff can suitably discuss any risk or concerns that your procedure may pose. Facial Muscle Spasm is a non surgical procedure with minimal risks.

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Contact Information

The McLean Academy

Neil R. McLean ( MD FRCS )

Telephone: 0191 284 3719

Email: reception@mcleanacademy.com

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