Non-Surgical Medical Aesthetics is a growing sector of the health and wellness industry for more reasons than clients just wanting to turn the clocks back on aging. As the founder of Aundrea Nurse Inc, I wanted to help others by educating them on the benefits of this innovative industry and the difference that it has allowed them to make in peoples’ lives above and beyond naturally fighting the aging process.
In the past 10 years, the medical aesthetics field has seen many advancements and different trends take this industry by storm. With the wave of a needle or flash of a laser, women and men can now fight the aging process in natural and safe ways, turning the clock back and achieving a more youthful appearance.
I knew as a registered nurse, I wanted to get into the beauty industry but did not know which direction to turn. My main interest was wanting to learn about sclerotherapy, this is a treatment that is done by injecting medication into spider veins and other various veins, shrinking them down, improving the look and circulation of blood flow in the legs. However, once I started my research into this side of medicine, a whole other world opened up for me. Going thorough nursing school, I never thought that one day I would be injecting Botox for a living, I did not even know what Botox was 10 years ago and I now work with it daily. Botox has literally changed my life for the better in so many ways. And if I am being completely honest, in the beginning of my career as a nurse injector, I would never tell anyone what I did for a living because often I would be met with negative remarks about Botox and antiaging, fast forward 10 years, now I can hardly keep up with the demand. In my practice, I encourage self-love and self-care, beyond just injectables, how you look has a direct impact on how you feel. Self-respect is everything, however you achieve that in your life.
Botulinum toxin or OnabotulinumtoxinA is a neurotoxin produced by a rod-shaped microorganism that is known as Clostridium botulinum. This neurotoxin is found in soil and bodies of water around the world, only growing in oxygen-free environments (Featherstone, 2015). The bacteria was first identified in 1895 by Belgian researchers who were looking for the cause of botulism, a fatal paralytic syndrome that interferes with key muscles in the body. It was discovered in contaminated food, often raw or undercooked meat.
Although known as one of the most poisonous substances in the world, Botox is used daily to treat specific muscle ailments, in adults and children. This prescription medication works by disrupting the ‘signal’ (a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine) from the nerve to the muscles cell or sweat gland, stopping the movement of the muscle for up to 3 months at a time.
Botox is known by most of the world’s population for its cosmetic uses however, it had been used medically for many years before being accidently discovered for its ability to heal lines and wrinkles in the face, let us explore what some of the medical uses of Botox are.
FDA approved the use of Botox in 1989, at this time it was only used to treat chronic blepharospasms, a condition when the muscles of the eyelid becomes hyperactive causing involuntary rapid blinking, leading to possible blindness if left untreated. A few small injections of Botox on the eyelid can help reduce spasms in these patients, allowing them to resume their normal lives.
Strabismus was the other FDA approved medical indication for Botox in 1989. Strabismus is the medical term for crossed eyes, and Botox works to temporarily correct the position of the eyes if surgery is not an option. This treatment is typically performed in adults under local anesthetic, while children are treated under general anesthetic. These treatments can be life-changing for patients and give them relief for up to 3 months.
Hemifacial spasm and synkinesis, is an involuntary contraction of the muscles on one side of the face, it typically starts with twitching of the eyelid and can progress to involve more muscles that vary from mild twitching to strong contractions. Botox is used to treat these muscles directly into the squeezing muscles allowing a relief of twitching for up to 3 to 4 months.
When nerves that are connected to facial muscles are damaged due to trauma, cancer or tumors, facial paralysis can happen affecting small areas or the entire face. This can also be diagnosed as Bell’s Palsy. Bell’s Palsy presents as muscle weakness on one side of the face when the facial nerve suddenly becomes inflamed and swollen. The communication between the brain and the facial muscles are then interrupted, negatively affecting the ability of common facial expressions. Plastic surgeons typically inject Botox into the affected muscles, relaxing the dominant muscles creating more symmetry to the face for 3 to 4 months.
Overactive bladder or urinary incontinence, including incontinence associated with neurological disease, has been treated for over 20 years with Botox. Usually performed in a clinic or operating room, Botox is injected into the bladder that has been numbed with local anesthesia, doing so helps to decrease muscular contractions of the bladder, resulting in relaxing the muscles, giving the individual relief of urgency incontinence which can last six to eight months. This treatment is typically performed by a urologist.
Overly tightened or stiff muscles with an inability to control these muscles is known as spasticity. This muscle control disorder is usually found in stroke, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis patients. Caused by an imbalance of signals from the central nervous system to the muscles, spasticity can be treated with Botox injections, bringing relief and better quality of life to individuals. These treatments are usually performed by a neurologist and can provide 12 to 16 weeks of relief to each patient.
Now that you are up to date on some of the medical treatments that are improved with OnabotulinumtoxinA, let’s talk about the cosmetic uses I typically do daily with Botox. But before we do that, do you know how the cosmetic effect of Botox was discovered? A husband-and-wife physician team in Vancouver BC, are responsible for this life changing discovery. Dr. Jean Carruthers an ophthalmologist pioneered the use of Botox by treating her patients who suffered from blepharospasms, then one of her patients came back stating that her frown lines were improved each time her Botox was injected into her eyelid. Dr. Carruthers mentioned this to her husband, Dr. Alastair Carruthers, a dermatologist, who then together, they began experimenting on willing patients and Voila, cosmetic Botox was born.
I use Botox in my practice on a cosmetic level and it is the most popular treatment I perform. More specifically, I use Botox to help reverse and prevent lines and wrinkles from forming on the face and neck. And I have seen these treatments explode in popularity over the past 5 years. However, I perform a few medical conditions with Botox as well; a condition called hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating, which is where Botox injections can reduce the sweat glands from producing too much sweat, I personally get this treatment done every 6 months and it is life changing for me and all the patients I treat.
Temporomandibular disorder is an orthopedic affliction that affects the Temporomandibular joint, causing pain, headaches, and even orthodontic issues from bruxism. By injecting the masseter and temporalis muscles with Botox, these symptoms can be lessened for 3 to 6 months with one treatment. An aesthetic affect is the bonus of this treatment as it can slim and taper the lower muscle, giving a more feminine look.
Chronic migraines is the other medical procedure I treat with Botox. Often just by having frown lines treated it can relieve migraine symptoms however, I also treat the occipital lobe and temporalis muscles to bring relief to suffering patients. Most chronic migraine sufferers will be referred to a neurologist for proper treatments and diagnosis. We encourage all our patients to speak with their family doctors before we treat them with Botox for this ailment.
Well, there you have it! Now you know a little more about the world of Botox and its uses. So next time someone mentions that Botox is bad for you or will cause negative side effects, you can educate them on some of the medical uses and explain that over 7.7 million people had safe treatments done in 2019, they cannot all be wrong.
by Aundrea Ritchie
Featherstone, S. (2015). A Complete Course in Canning and Related Processes. Woodhead Publishing Limited.