The most common non-surgical cosmetic procedure done in 2012 was Botox injections.
Botox is a term that’s familiar to us. We hear celebrities getting Botox left and right to erase lines and, in the case of our own Charice Pempengco who had it at the age of 18, contour the face.
In fact, although Botox is a brand name, it has become as generic as Colgate to refer to toothpaste or Xerox when it comes to photocopying.
The brand name comes from the chemical botulinum. It is toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium that blocks nerve cell transmission.
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The poison becomes a beauty aid
This poison was first discovered in 1897, but it Dr. Alan Scott who discovered a medical use for it in the late 1960s. He used botulinum to treat strabismus (being cross-eyed) and blepharospasm (uncontrollable blinking). The toxin stops the transfer of signals from one nerve cell to another causing the muscle to relax.
It is through this “muscle-relaxing” effect that Botox became Hollywood’s best friend.
In 1989, Dr. Richard Clark, a plastic surgeon, was the first physician to use botulinum on wrinkles. The rest is a history.
Other medical uses of Botox
Other medical uses of botulinum are: muscle relaxation in cerebral palsy, prevention of excessive sweating especially in the armpits, treatment of chronic migraine headache, neck muscle spasm and for difficulty in swallowing.
Last year, nearly 7.5 million people received Botox injections all over the world. It is estimated to be a US 5 billion dollar business and it will continue to grow as physicians keep discovering new ways to use this versatile chemical.
The latest indication for the use of botulinum is to prevent urinary incontinence. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration just this January 18, 2013.
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No more adult diapers!
Overactive bladder is a common illness among the older age group. In the United States, almost 33 million people suffer from this condition.
Just like wrinkles and stiff neck muscles, injecting the botulinum toxin on the bladder muscles will cause relaxation and produce decreased contraction leading to less urinary incontinence.
This is welcome news to many seniors who have gotten tired of wearing adult diapers or are simply too exhausted to keep rushing to the bathroom.
The next time Grandma proudly says she just had Botox, it might not be for her wrinkles.
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