Dr. Sarah Saxon on Botox

Dallas otolaryngologist and facial plastic surgery specialist Sarah Saxon answers questions about Botox.

Is Botox used for anything other than fine lines around the eyes and wrinkles in the forehead?

Yes. I also use Botox if I’m revising a scar on the forehead so that the skin doesn’t move with the muscles underneath. The less a scar moves, the narrower it will be, and the better it looks in the long run.

Another application of Botox is to narrow the width of the jaw. Injecting Botox into the masseter muscle attached to the jaw actually shrinks the muscle, narrowing the jaw’s width. We can also treat migraine headaches by injecting that area as well the muscles at the back of the neck.

Botox is now FDA approved for migraines, and it also helps with tension headaches. The procedure is covered by insurance if patients meet the criteria for number of migraine headaches in a month. In my experience, patients just tend to feel better when they’re taking Botox; they tend to have fewer headaches, and other people might notice a difference in their appearance. Either scenario puts them in a better mood. It makes my patients not only look better, but feel better as well.

How often should Botox be used?

The injections generally last three months, but the longer you have treatment, the less frequently you need it because the muscles that you are targeting eventually atrophy. So the length of time between Botox injections actually slightly increases over time.

Are there side effects to using Botox?

Some people worry that it’s a toxin and that it causes paralysis, but really Botox is very safe and has few side effects if used in the right way. The main potential complication is to have an upper eyelid droop, which would be temporary because the toxin lasts for three months, but that’s pretty rare if you know exactly where to inject the Botox. The other potential complication is just having a bruise, maybe just a bit of swelling, from the injection. But, in general, most people tolerate Botox really well.