According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the #1 most common cosmetic complaint patients have is wrinkles. Approved for wrinkle treatment in 2002 and more recently for crow’s feet by the FDA, nothing smooths out wrinkles quicker than Botox Cosmetic®. Your aesthetic patients already know this. Your medical patients, on the other hand, may be skeptical if it is suggested as a treatment for their condition. Here are 5 of the most popular cosmetic and medical benefits of Botox® injections. Use this as a quick and easy way to explain these procedures to your patients.
First, Explain How Botox® Works
The best way to explain Botox® to your patients is this: “Botox® works as a shield between the brain and the muscle so that, even if your brain is telling a muscle to move–whether this is on purpose or because of misfiring neurons–the muscle will stay still.”
Next, outline some of the ways that relaxing muscles can help in both cosmetic and medical patients. Here are some good examples to use.
Botox Benefit #1: Treat a Drooping Brow
Also called “Brow Ptosis,” drooping brow can cause patients to look unhappy and tired even when they are feeling awake and happy. In some instances there are biological reasons for the droop and you might advise your patients to eat more vegetables, exercise their facial muscles, etc. Many times, however, intervention is needed. Administering Botox® results in the relaxing of the brow muscles and, when administered correctly, can keep them aloft.
Botox Benefit #2: Stop Excessive Sweating
“Hyperhidrosis” is defined by the National Library of Medicine as “a medical condition in which a person sweats excessively and unpredictably. People with hyperhidrosis may sweat even when the temperature is cool or when they are at rest.” Your patients probably won’t care about this. They’ll likely just want to stop sweating so much.
Explain that, just like Botox® can prevent directions given by the brain from reaching the intended muscle, it can also act as a shield for sweat glands. It is particularly helpful for excessive localized sweating in the patient’s armpits, feet or hands. Make sure to tell them that they’ll need to repeat the procedure every few months but the smart money says they’ll choose the treatment over the skin conditions they risk developing from having to walk around in damp clothing and shoes all day.
Botox Benefit #3: Reduce Migraine Pain
Many of your practice’s migraine patients will have probably read up on the use of Botox® as a treatment for their condition. This means that you won’t have to do much convincing with them, but you will have to manage expectations. Many migraine sufferers make the mistake of thinking that the drug stops the migraine itself. It doesn’t. It will, however, reduce many of their major symptoms like sensitivity to light and nausea, making the migraine easier to deal with.
Botox Benefit #4: Treatment for Bells Palsy
You have two choices for administering Botox® to your Bells Palsy patients. Here is how you can explain each of those choices to your patients:
Administering the treatment to the paralyzed side of the patient’s face–this can help relax facial muscles that might have tightened up and become painful as well as preventing unwanted facial tics.
Administering the treatment to the non-paralyzed side of the patient’s face–this Botox® benefit is more cosmetic in nature. This technique can help relax the movements on the dominant side of the face. This helps give the face a more balanced look even when the patient is talking or moving their face a lot.
Botox Benefit #5: Stop Eye Twitch/Squinting
If your patient is willing to come into your practice over an eye twitch, it’s safe to think that the twitch is more than a temporary annoyance. Sometimes the twitching will be rapid and/or constant. Other times the twitch can cause a permanent spasm of the muscle, holding it in a tense position for a prolonged period of time. In addition to being annoying and sometimes painful, these twitches can also interfere with the patient’s vision.
A simple explanation of how Botox® works (covered above) is often all you need here.
Talk About Side Effects
The IAPAM’s list of common and uncommon side effects of Botox® physicians need to be aware of include: headache, facial pain, and pain at the injection site (common) as well as temporary eyelid droop, respiratory infection, and muscle weakness (uncommon).
The IAPAM also tells its members that the best way to prevent these side effects is to have a thorough knowledge of the facial muscles and their behaviors, to err on the side of caution, and to practice and master the basics before administering any procedures.
This is where all the time you spent perfecting your bedside manner will come in handy. Talk over side effect fears with each patient and, if necessary, demonstrate your knowledge and skill with the procedure with saline and an inanimate test subject. For some patients, the knowledge that your hands are steady will go a long way!
Knowing how to teach your patients about the benefits of Botox® will help alleviate their fears and preconceived ideas (thanks, Internet!) about what the treatment is for, how it works, and how it is administered. Hopefully, what we’ve shared here will help you do exactly that.