19 July 2010
By Tausif Alam & Shweta Singh
Far from the conventional application in cosmetic surgery to reduce frown lines and enhance beauty, the Botox treatment is also found useful in treating a few neurological conditions, said experts.
“Apart from its much defined use in enhancing beauty, neurologists have found various applications of Botox injections in neurological disorders such as involuntary sustained muscles contraction, resulting in twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures,”said neurologist Rajas Deshpande.
The treatment improves the patient’s posture and function and relieve associated pain. In neurology, it’s largely been used to treat undesirable muscular contraction or twisting (focal dystonia), facial movement disorder (hemifacial spasm), involuntary blinking of the eyes (blepharospasm), and abnormal squeezing and twisting muscle contractions in the head and neck area (cervical dystonia), he added.
“Botulinum Toxin (Botox is the trade name) is a powerful biological toxin which acts a muscle relaxing agent. The main work of this relaxing agent is to paralyse the skin. When injected into specific muscles, the muscle becomes paralysed or weakened, but leaves surrounding muscles unaffected, allowing for normal muscle function. The Botox treatment is very expensive, costing around Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per year. The treatment doesn’t give permanent relief, and patients have to be treated after an interval of every six months,”said neurosurgeon Jaidev Panchwagh.
Sharing the view, neurologist Rajas Deshpande said,“It’s now common to use Botox injections for patients of any age group. Botox is very useful for patients suffering from writer’s cramp and other similar muscular ailments. It is also found that a small percentage of patients develop antibodies to Botox treatment.”
Deshpande, however, warned against the indiscriminate use of Botox. People are now using it for minor pains other than migraine, which is not right. Injecting Botox near the throat could prove fatal, he added.
Elaborating on its other uses, neurologist Sudhir Kothari said,“The powerful toxin is used in small amounts to reduce stiffness in several muscles. It is also used to treat myoclonus (involuntary twitching of a muscle or group of muscles), tremors, bruxism (oral parafunctional activity like grinding of the teeth), and spasticity (altered skeletal muscle performance). The treatment is also been used to give a temporary relief to the patients suffering from acute and chronic anal fissures and can also help in the treatment of patient suffering from overactive bladder.”
The application of Botox treatment in neurology is safe, reversible and a little expensive. The treatment doesn’t cause any side–effects as such and if does, it only lasts for six months. It remains effective for six months and the patient needs to be treated again. The Botox injection can be used for both large and small muscles and the dose of the injection depends upon the size of the muscle treated, added Kothari.
Botox could be the answer to
- An undesirable muscular contraction or twisting (focal dystonia
- Focal limb dystonia
- Hemifacial spasm
- Tremors t Oral parafunctional activity like grinding of the teeth (Bruxism)
- Altered skeletal muscle performance (Spasticity)