What is Botulinum Toxin Injection?
Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) injection is a safe and effective treatment for various conditions, including movement disorders, dystonia, muscle stiffness, overactive bladder, excessive sweating and salivation, and facial twitching. We also use it to prevent chronic migraine headaches. This potent neurotoxin is commonly used in aesthetic procedures but has also been found to have therapeutic effects.
At Melbourne NeuroCare, we use a purified form of botulinum toxin to treat some movement disorders and chronic migraine. The treatment may involve multiple injections in one or more sites for maximum benefit.
There are several brands of botulinum toxin available in the market:
- Botox (Allergan)
- Dysport (Ipsen)
- Xeomin (Merz)
Although you are probably more familiar with Botox™, all these brands are approved by Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Your neurologist will determine the most appropriate brand for your condition, considering your symptoms, medical history, and other relevant factors.
How Does Botulinum Toxin Work?
Botulinum toxin works by stopping the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for transmitting information between muscles. When injected into the muscle, it prevents it from over-contracting, relieving pain, muscle spasticity, abnormal posture or tremor. This helps reduce the intensity of the disorder and the associated symptoms, providing relief to the patient.
The effects of botulinum neurotoxin are temporary and specific. This means it only affects the release of acetylcholine and only in the area where it’s injected. The treatment does not cause permanent muscle paralysis or damage. Once the effect of the toxin wears off, the muscle will regain its strength and function.
Botulinum toxin is used to treat a wide array of medical disorders.
- Cervical dystonia (involuntary contraction of neck muscles)
- Hemifacial spasm (facial twitching)
- Blepharospasm (involuntary blinking)
- Spasticity (muscle stiffness)
- Chronic migraine (headaches > 15 days/mo)
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
- Sialorrhea (excessive drooling)
- Bladder pain
- Teeth grinding
- Cerebral palsy
- Temporomandibular disorders
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Tennis elbow
- Post-stroke pain
- Post-herpetic pain
- Nerve pain
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Spinal cord injury
Overactive muscles can cause Involuntary movements that can be socially embarrassing and interfere with basic functioning. Botulinum toxin is an effective treatment for various movement disorders, including tics, essential tremor, blepharospasm, hemifacial spasm, and different types of dystonias. It also helps alleviate migraine symptoms, including persistent headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea.
- High efficacy
Botulinum toxin is highly effective in reducing the severity of dystonia, spasticity, and tremors. The effects last for several months, reducing the need for medications.
- Quick and minimally invasive administration
Botulinum toxin is administered via injection, which does not require surgery or anesthesia. This makes it a relatively fast and convenient treatment option for movement disorders.
- Lower risk of complications
Botulinum toxin has fewer side effects than surgical treatments, making it a safer and more attractive option.
- Flexible and customizable
The treatment is more flexible and customizable, allowing for repeated and refined adjustments as symptoms evolve over time.
- Targeted relief
Unlike medications with general side effects, Botulinum toxin provides targeted and localized relief of symptoms, specifically aimed at the muscles causing the movement disorder.
As with all injectables, you may experience post-treatment reactions at the injection site. These are mild and temporary. The most common side effect is temporary muscle pain near the injection site. Talk to your neurologist if you develop a fever, severe pain, or shortness of breath.
Risks and side effects of botulinum toxin injection
- muscle weakness
- problems in swallowing
What to expect with botulinum toxin injection?
Before receiving a botulinum toxin injection, you will have a consultation with your neurologist to discuss your medical history and the reason for the injection.
- The skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution to reduce the risk of infection.
- The neurologist may apply a local anesthetic to the injection site to numb the area.
- The botulinum toxin will be injected into the muscle using a very fine needle to minimize discomfort.
- After the injection, your neurologist will massage the area to help distribute the toxin evenly.
- You will receive specific instructions after the procedure, such as avoiding physical activity for a certain period.
The procedure is usually quick and simple, taking only a few minutes. You should be able to return to your normal activities immediately after injection, although you may experience some mild swelling or redness at the affected site.
The administration of botulinum neurotoxin can dramatically reduce the frequency and severity of muscle spasms and address other symptoms stemming from excessive muscle activity. A remarkable 50-90% of patients who undergo this treatment report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms.
Understand that botulinum toxin injection is not a one-time solution for movement disorders but an ongoing therapy to relieve symptoms. Nevertheless, it has proven to be highly effective in reducing the negative effects of such conditions.
Though its full effects may take up to two weeks to fully manifest, most patients experience a reduction in symptoms in just a few days. This improvement is usually maintained for an average of 3 months or longer in some individuals.
After which, another visit to a movement disorder neurologist may be required for re-evaluation and further treatment. Patients can receive injections indefinitely so long as they do not exhibit tolerance or any adverse reactions.
Book an initial consultation
It is essential to choose a movement disorder neurologist with expertise and qualifications. They should have received formal and practice-based training to inject botulinum toxin. Call Melbourne NeuroCare today and talk to our specialists.
Enquire about Botulinum Toxin Injection
- Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
- MRI Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS)
- Duodopa Intestinal Infusion
- Apomorphine Infusion
- Botulinum Toxin Injections
Botulinum toxin is used for:
- Chronic migraine where other treatments have failed
- Hemifacial spasm
- Cervical dystonia
- Cerebral palsy
- Sialorrhea (excess salivation)
- Hyperhidrosis (excess sweating)
- Migraine and headache disorders
- Seizure disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neuromuscular disease
- Neurodegenerative disease