Botulinum toxin is a protein produced by a certain type of
bacteria (Clostridium botulinum). It is the same toxin
that can cause a type of food poisoning (botulism) if a person gets too much in his or her system. It may be used to treat a wide range of problems.
Small amounts of
the purified toxin (such as Botox or Dysport) may be injected to weaken or relax muscles that are
in spasm or are contracting uncontrollably, such as spasms in the eyelids or in
the lower esophagus. It also may be used to rejuvenate the aging face by
temporarily weakening or paralyzing the muscles, which has the effect of
smoothing or eliminating wrinkles in the skin. The effect usually wears off
within a few months. When injected in small amounts into muscles, the toxin
does not get into the person's bloodstream and cause illness.
July 31, 2012
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Keith A. Denkler, MD - Plastic Surgery
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