What is Botulinum Toxin?
Botulinum Toxin is a neuro toxic protein made by the spore-forming bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
It was initially discovered by Dr. Emile Pierre van Ermengem of Belgium in the 1890’s when he linked a case of fatal food poisoning to the bacteria. With time, medical studies identified seven different strains that were named A through G.
Botulinum Toxin Type A (BTXA) is the most developed strain in medicine and used to treat various health conditions.
How does Botulinum Toxin Work?
BTXA acts within developing and mature nervous tissue by targeting specific neural components.
When injected into muscle tissues in small amounts it interrupts cell communication by blocking the release of Acetylcholine, a neuro transmitting chemical. This keeps the nerve endings from sending / receiving ‘muscle contraction’ messages to muscles which results in a lack of muscle movement.
The muscles then remain still and ‘relaxed’ for a period of time.
Early Origins and the Discovery of Botulinum Toxin
The positive medical uses of BTXA began to be explored with intensity from the 1950’s as a result of the work by Dr. Edward J. Schantz and colleagues. They were the first doctors to distil pure Botulinum Toxin into a crystalline form. It is still used in this form today.
In 1953 physiologist Dr. Vern Brooks published studies which demonstrated that BTXA caused muscles which were in spasm to temporarily cease movement.
In 1978 ophthalmologist Dr. Alan B. Scott began to test BTXA with human volunteers suffering from Strabismus a condition in which they eye muscles are unable to focus straight ahead, appearing to be crossed instead. His research published positive results in the 1980’s from these studies not only with Strabismus but also muscle spasms elsewhere.
Then in 1988 Botulinum Toxin type A began to be produced and distributed by a major drug company under the name Oculinum after it was approved to treat Strabismus and Blepharospasm (eyelid spasms).
Meanwhile research continued elsewhere to explore the use of BTXA to treat incontinence, excessive sweating, and conditions such as cerebral palsy
The potential use of BTXA for Aesthetics was an accident discovered by Ophthalmologist Dr. Jean Carruthers in Canada. As she was treating patients she realized that not only their eye conditions were affected. Her patient’s wrinkles were becoming less visible and in some cases erased as a side effect their BTXA treatment.
These findings were first published in 1992 and immediately drew attention from both doctors and clients looking for new and effective ways to reduce visible aging.
Approvals and Medical Uses for Botulinum Toxin Type A
2000 BTXA was approved to treat neck and shoulder spasms a medical condition named Cervical Dystonia.
2002 Aesthetic use of BTXA was given the stamp of approval by the United States regulatory Food and Drug Administration thus opening the door to widespread, regulated use.
2004 BTXA was endorsed for Hyperhidrosis, a diagnosis for severe sweating in the underarms.
2006 Sales of BTXA reached the billion dollar mark!
2010 BTXA Announced as a new approved treatment available to those suffering from chronic migraines.
Present Adult medical uses of BTXA include teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching (Bruxism & TMJ Syndrome), Incontinence due to painful bladder syndrome, Movement disorders linked with the central nervous system i.e. multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, and stroke, anal fissures and vaginal muscle spasms as well as vocal cord or oesophagus dysfunction. There are also now studies being done as to whether Botox can relieve Depression, so far there is an 80% success rate
Botulinum Toxin’s use in Aesthetics
BTXA is now used to treat millions of individuals each year around the world. It has become the most popular non-surgical aesthetic treatment used by both men and women. Utilizing meticulously placed injections on the face, BTXA is employed to both combat the formation of wrinkles and reduce visible wrinkles.
It takes several days for the results of a BTXA injection to manifest and these can last for up to six months.
BTXA can help achieve firmer, smoother skin and a refreshed appearance. It can be used for a limited time or as a component of a long term skin care regimen.
If you are considering non-surgical aesthetic treatments, be sure to contact our rooms today.
Connect with Dr Martina van der Mescht, 011 954 0070.