A Brief History of Botox

Towards the end of the 18th century small towns in Southern Germany suffered an outbreak of a strange and deadly illness that poisoned its victims’ nerves, causing progressive shut down, or paralysis of essential physical functions.

A local medical officer and poet by the name of Justinus Kerner studied more than 200 cases of this disease before publishing the first accurate and complete description of what he called “sausage poisoning”.

We now know this disease as botulism, after the latin word “botulus”, or sausage.

Botulism received it’s name in 1895 when Belgian professor of Bacteriology Emile Van Ermengem isolated it’s bacterial source (clostridium botulinum) from remnants of smoked ham that was served at a funeral dinner, infecting 34 people and killing 3 musicians.

Over the next three decades from 1895 to 1925 botulism became a significant public health hazard following the rise of canned food.

A Swiss-American veterinary scientist by the name of Karl Friedrich Meyer eventually developed techniques for growing the bacteria and extracting its toxin. He discovered that the toxin could be inactivated by heating, which lead to the near disappearance of botulism.

It wasn’t for another 50 years, however, that botulinum toxin, a purified version of the nerve poison produced by clostridium botulinum bacteria, would be used medically.

In 1977 Alan B. Scott, an American ophthalmologist, began using the toxin to treat strabismus patients for crossed eyes and blepharospasm patients for twitching eyelids.

Unfortunately distribution of botulinum toxin was shut down in 1986 due to Dr. Scott’s inability to obtain product liability insurance.

Three years later in 1989, following a massive clinical trial, Allergan received FDA approval to market botulinum toxin for clinical use in the United States under the trademark Botox.

That same year plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Clark was the first to document a cosmetic use for Botox.

While trying to repair a botched facelift that paralyzed the left side of a patient’s forehead, Dr. Clark realized he could restore symmetry by injecting Botox to smooth the wrinkles of the right forehead to match the paralyzed left.

Not long after, ophthalmologists Jean and Alistair Carruthers observed that blepharospasm patients who received injections around the eyes and upper face also enjoyed diminished facial glabellar lines (“frown lines” between the eyebrows).

Botox injection for cosmetic purposes quickly spread around the United States.

In 2002 the FDA approved Botox Cosmetic to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate-to-severe glabellar lines.

And so the most popular cosmetic procedure in the world was born.

Botox 101

Botox is a brand of botulinum toxin, a purified version of a nerve poison produced by the bacteria that causes botulism.

That may sound scary, but don’t worry, it’s completely safe.

It’s classified as a “neuromodulator”, but we like to think of it as a wrinkle eraser.

How It Works

Over time your skin loses elasticity and repetitive facial movement produces frown lines and furrows that turn into deep creases and unwanted signs of aging.

Botox stops the muscle activity that produces these wrinkles – it prohibits nerves from delivering their signal to muscles by blocking the ability of the nerve ending to secrete acetylcholine, which the muscle needs to contract.

Basically, it freezes your face in a relaxed position to stop scrunching.

Who It’s For

  • 20 and 30 somethings wanting to prevent the signs of aging
  • Those over 30 seeking to treat the signs of aging
  • Anyone suffering from frequent migraines
  • People with excessive underarm sweating

What It Does: The Benefits

  • Smoothes unwanted frown lines and wrinkles that cause us to look tired, angry, and older than we feel
  • Prevents wrinkles, deep folds and creases from forming
  • Lifts and shapes the brow
  • Creates a refreshed, energetic, more youthful appearance
  • Helps you look relaxed and “happier” while still having plenty of facial expression
  • Enhances your mood – studies have shown that reducing movement of frown muscles makes negative moods less likely to arise and harder to maintain
  • Special uses
    • Treat migraine headaches by reducing tension
    • Decrease embarrassing underarm sweating

Most Common Concerns

The most common concern is that getting Botox will make you look unnatural. Many people fear they will end up with a frozen face, droopy eyelids, or an uneven smile.

This should never happen! You can easily avoid these unfortunate outcomes by getting your botox from a skilled injector, like Dr. Gill ;).

Other possible side effects are headaches and bruises. Any time you stick a needle in your face this can happen, but again, going to a good Doctor makes this very unlikely.

Quick Facts

  • FDA Approved Non-surgical injection
  • Painless, requires no anesthesia
  • Takes less than 30 minutes
  • Begins to work within a few days
  • Lasts for approximately 3 months

Interested in learning more about botox?  Schedule a consultation!

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