What is Botox® and why is it used for facial paralysis?
Botox® (also known as botulinum toxin) is a well-studied medication with a large number of applications. It is most commonly associated with preventing wrinkles in the cosmetic world. Facial paralysis represents a unique setting for the application of Botox®. It is a purified form of a naturally-occurring toxin from bacteria (Clostridium botulinum) that is responsible for botulism.
The mechanism of action is by binding to receptors at the junction between nerves and muscles (neuromuscular junction) and preventing nerve stimulation from entering muscles.
In essence, it induces paralysis where you inject it. Sometimes in the setting of facial paralysis, there may be only partial paralysis affecting a portion of the face. This can cause asymmetry that can be unfavorable for many patients. This can also occur after smile reanimation or other types of facial paralysis reconstruction where correcting one deficiency may unmask an asymmetry somewhere else on the face. Botox® injection is aimed at correcting asymmetry by re-establishing balance from unopposed muscle contraction.
Similarly, it can be used in synkinesis to disrupt unwanted facial contractions. More specifically, Botulinum toxin is used early on in the treatment of synkinesis by injecting directly into the muscles causing twitching on the paralyzed side of the face. This allows for the overactive muscles to settle and can indirectly limit stimulation through the synkinetic pathways. By doing so, symmetry and function of facial muscles are restored early.
How long does Botox® last for facial paralysis?
The duration of effect for Botox® is between 3-6 months. It will then need to be repeated to maintain the desired effect. Because of its temporary nature, Botox® is sometimes used to visualize the effect of symmetry correction procedures prior to performing the actual surgery.
Risks and Complications
What are the risks and complications of botox?
Botox® has minimal risks and has been used widely for various applications. Allergic reaction, bruising, lack of effect, and migration to adjacent muscle groups have been known to occur. Depending upon the area, this can mean paralysis of unintended muscles. For example, Botox® injected into the forehead may result in eyelid droop. Nonetheless, the risks and complications are rare and quite minimal. Dr. Panossian is an expert in the use of Botox® and other interventions for facial paralysis. Botox® injections are most often performed comfortably in the office with no downtime.
Why choose Dr Panossian
- He received his medical education at Tufts University School of Medicine.
- Graduated at the top of his class at UCLA, receiving Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude honors.
- Was accepted into an elite combined general surgery and plastic surgery residency at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
- Completed subspecialty training in craniofacial surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Harvard Medical School.
- Was mentored by Dr. Ron Zuker in the practice of facial paralysis reconstruction. This prestigious fellowship position was available to only one surgeon in the United States.
- Is affiliated with various charitable and educational organizations, including Operation Smile and Mending Kids.
- Is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the highly selective American Association of Plastic Surgeons, reserved for only a select group of individuals nationally who have demonstrated excellence in academic plastic surgery.
- Holds memberships in several other professional societies including the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery.
- He serves on the Board of Directors for Mending Kids and the Gondobay Manga Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of lives in Sierra Leone.
- Has been nominated by his peers annually since 2012 as a “Super Doctor.”
- Served as an expert medical consultant and appeared on The Doctors, Grey’s Anatomy, and Nip/Tuck.
- Has been featured as “Top Doctor” in US News and World Report, Pasadena Magazine, and Los Angeles Magazine.
Last modified by Dr. Andre Panossian