21 June 2020
Botox/ Botulinum toxin- To most of us, Botox might be most famous as a neurotoxin injection for erasing wrinkles, but did you know that Botulinum toxin has far more medical applications? Botox (botulinum toxin) has received US FDA approval for treatment of forehead frown lines, glabella wrinkles and crows’ feet wrinkles. However, did you know that Botox is also US FDA approved for treating hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), overactive bladders and neck spasms?
In my last blogpost, I shared about one novel use of shoulder botox injections for shoulder slimming in South Korea. Today’s review on Botox injections will look at more surprising uses for botulinum toxin- from calf slimming to neck to protecting your teeth.
These treatments are considered to be off-label use of Botox injections; which means that Botulinum toxin is used for a condition other than what the US FDA approved it for. This does not mean that Botox injections in these cases are unapproved; it only means that the safety and efficacy of Botulinum toxin in these instances have not been fully established. Always remember that if you are seeking Botulinum toxin injections in Singapore, please choose a qualified and experienced doctor to ensure your safety and minimal risk of side effects.
Off-label use of medications also does not mean that the use is illegal; in fact there are many common medications that have been used off-label. Once a drug has received US FDA approval for a condition, licensed doctors are allowed to prescribe the drug for medical issues that they think might benefit the patient. For example, Propanolol, a medication for treating hypertension, is used off-label to treat a complication of hyperthyroidism called thyroid storm. Another example would be the off-label use of antibiotics to treat rosacea.
As with any medical treatment, it’s always best to consult your doctor about the safety and suitability before proceeding with Botox injections. If you would like to read more about how Botox works and the safety concerns surrounding Botulinum toxin, this blogpost Is Botox Deadly? 5 Things You Need to Know About Botulinum Toxin Safety will discuss the safety, side effects and complications of Botox.
Here are 5 surprising off-label uses for Botulinum toxin injections in Singapore:
Before Kylie Jenner made full (some might say overdone) lips in vogue, Angeline Jolie’s iconic pout was widely coveted. Lip fillers have been the treatment of choice to plump up lips. Fillers used for lips are typically soft gels that contain hyaluronic acid which immediately add volume to thin lips. The downside of lip fillers? The dreaded duck lips or trout pouts look and lumpiness in the lips.
There are distinct differences in facial characteristics between Asians and Caucasians. Anthropological studies have shown that Chinese women have thicker upper and lower lips compared to their Caucasian counterparts1. Lip preferences also differ for different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Although ideal facial dimensions cannot be generalised, it has also been shown Asians prefer smaller and thinner lips.
In the Botox Lip Flip (sometimes also referred to as the Botox Lip Lift), botulinum toxin is injected into the muscles around the mouth (orbicularis oris muscles) to relax the muscle and flips the corners of the lip upwards. The lip flip gives the illusion of slightly fuller lips without actually adding volume into the lip.
The results with the Botox Lip Flip are also more subtle than lip fillers. If you’re considering less options that are less invasive than lip fillers for lip augmentation; the Botox Lip Flip is an alternative.
Another off-label treatment for Botulinum toxin is the slimming of bulky calf muscles. Botox injections have been used to contour the leg muscles by causing controlled atrophy of the gastrocnemius muscle. An enlarged gastrocnemius muscle causes the calves to look bulky. Hence, by relaxing the gastrocnemius muscle with Botulinum toxin, muscles slim down for slimmer looking calves. The ideology of this is similar to Jaw botox for slimming down the sides of the face and trapezius muscle botox injections to slim down the shoulders.
Queen Nefertiti was one of Egypt’s most famous queens renowned for her beauty. She was known as ‘Beauty of the Nile’ and her looks have been immortalised in a famous bust that depicted her delicate neck, slim jawline and arresting facial features.
The Nefertiti Lift is a non-invasive treatment that lifts and recontours sagging, banding and crepe-y skin along the jawline and neck. Small doses of botulinum toxin are injected into the platysmal muscle bands of the neck (i.e. turkey neck) and along the jaw to lift and tighten the skin and muscles. This also gives the neck and jawline a sharper and slimmer silhouette a la Nefertiti.
The Nefertiti Lift can be combined with Dermalift, where Microbotox is used to lift the skin. The results of this combination are very convincing and it’s what I’d recommend if you’re not ready for a face or neck threadlift.
Excessive sweating is a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. Botulinum toxin blocks neurotransmission to sweat glands to reduce sweating. Botox has received US FDA approval for treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis in 2004; however treatment of excessive sweating in the hands and feet with Botulinum toxin is off-label.
However, if you have a wide nose due to nostril flaring when you laugh or smile, Botox can relax the muscle that widens your nostrils- the dilator nasalis muscle. By injecting botulinum toxin into this muscle, the sideways pulling action of the nose is lessened.
There’s a lot more to Botox than removing wrinkles. Some of these uses for Botox are considered as off-label as US FDA approval has not been given yet. If you enjoyed this review on off-label uses of Botox, you might enjoy the following Botox related blogposts: