Botox or not to Botox – That is the question

Botox Injections

Botox, also known as Botulinum toxin, is a neurotoxin and a protein that is made by Clostridium botulinum. Clostridium botulinum is a bacterium that creates this lethal toxin in Botox injections for cosmetic purposes. In the 1950, medical professionals discovered that by injecting small amounts of this toxin into overly active muscles caused a paralyzing effect on the muscle itself, freezing it into place and weakening the muscle over time. Now days, Botox is a common cosmetic procedure that is performed upwards of 6.3 million times per year in the United States by numerous plastic surgeons. The reason for the large number of procedures performed is due to the cosmetic effect that it takes against wrinkles and the ability for the effects to last between 4 to 6 months before another treatment is needed.

Other Cosmetic Applications of Botox Injections

There are many other cosmetic uses for Botox injections that in use today, such as treatment of spasms. Other conditions that are treated with Botox include cervical dystonia, strabismus, migraines, bruxism, and much more. There are even some stranger uses for Botox in the medical field that have been approved by the FDA that many are not aware of such as pediatric incontinence, palsy, wound healing, vocal cord dysfunction, and allergic rhinitis to name a few. While these uses are strange, they are treated much more often than most people think.

Risks and Side Effects of Botox

Your doctor will inform you of all the risks of Botox use for medical and cosmetic reasons, however if you are looking into Botox injections because you are interested in receiving them for the first time, here are a few of the risks and side effects that you will need to look out for after your injections. You may experience problems breathing, speaking, or swallowing after your injections, this is due to the weakening of the muscles and these issues can last up to several months after your procedure. There is also a possibility that you will experience effects from the spread of the toxin such as blurred vision, hoarseness, double vision, and other troublesome side effects. Due to the possibility of this, it is highly recommended that you avoid driving and operating machinery of any kind for safety reasons. You may also run a risk of a severe or immediate allergic reaction to the injections which will include rash, itching, red welts, and even wheezing and asthma like symptoms. If this occurs, contact a medical professional immediately.

Special Precautions

If are seriously considering having Botox injections performed, be sure to tell your doctor everything and about as much of your medical history as possible to ensure your safety. If you have any muscle or nerve conditions, your doctor will need to know to assess your risk of complications with the injections. This also goes for other medical conditions that you may have including medications you are prescribed to ensure there are no adverse reactions that may be possible with this procedure.


While there are many risks and side effects that are possible from Botox injections, there have only been 28 deaths caused by the use of Botox from 1989 to 2003. None of these deaths were ever linked to cosmetic uses of Botox injections, however in 2008 the FDA did link to a few deaths, adverse side effects, and even symptoms that can only be described as botulism like. None of these cases were linked to cosmetic Botox injections either, but plastic surgeons and others who perform Botox injections for cosmetic reasons ensure they are careful and that you have as few risks and complications as possible.


While there will always be some risk to receiving Botox injections, working closely with your doctors and cosmetic surgeons to identify any possible risks caused by the injections is your best defense. If there are any risks for you during the procedure, your cosmetic medical professional will advise you of all potential risks and ensure that you are still comfortable with the procedure before going through with the injections. As long as your doctor has all of the facts about your medical history, allergens, and past medical conditions including current medications, your procedure should be done with as few side effects as possible.