How does it work?
Our facial expressions change because the muscles in the face contract or relax. This is caused by the brain sending a signal via our nerve endings that we
for example, frown or laugh. When muscle relaxants are injected into a specific muscle they block the signal from the nerve to the muscles in the face.
This means that
the nerve ending cannot tell the muscle to move. This is not a permanent condition, however, but it will last for around 3 to 4 months.
After muscle relaxant injections, your skin around the area which has been treated will look smooth and less wrinkled; but do not worry, the rest of your face will
not be affected. Muscle relaxants allow the untreated areas of your face to move as normal and you will still be able to laugh, smile and frown, but with less wrinkling
of the skin in the areas treated.
What areas can be treated?
The upper third of the face is where the best treatment results are obtained, commonly for reduction in the appearance of crow's feet around the eyes, and frown lines
and wrinkles on the forehead and between the eyebrows.
What happens during the treatment & how long to recover?
Preparing for treatment
This treatment is simple, quick and safe. You can resume your normal activities immediately after the procedure. Many people have their treatments in their lunch-time,
for example, and return to work straight afterwards.
The first time you visit a clinic, a detailed discussion with a practitioner should realistically and clearly highlight your expectations of the cosmetic effect from
this treatment. The practitioner should then be able to tell you if this is how they see the treatment working for you. If your expectations and theirs do not match each
other, do not proceed until you are entirely happy with what they are telling you.
The practitioner may then take a medical history to make sure that there are no reasons why you are not suited to be treated with muscle relaxants. Then you would
normally be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you have understood what the treatment may do, the potential side effects and also that the drug is not currently licensed for this specific use in the UK.
Photographs may also be taken by the practitioner with you smiling and frowning and with your face at rest. This will be used as 'before and after' images to show you how successful your treatment has been.
All this may happen in your first visit. If you are happy to proceed further, the practitioner may also give you a first injection at this time. Equally, you may decide to keep your treatment separate from the necessary "paperwork" and not begin the procedure until your next consultation.
First, the area to be injected will be cleaned with an antiseptic wipe. You do not require any anaesthetic or sedation. Then, using micro needles and disposable syringes, tiny amounts of muscle relaxants will be injected into several points in the agreed area.
For your first treatment, we recommend that it might be wise to have just one area treated (i.e. your frown lines, for example) so that you can become comfortable with the process and the practitioner can see how you respond to your first injections.
Depending on the area treated, dose used, and how you respond to muscle relaxants, repeat treatments will be required around every 3 to 6 months. These will maintain and potentially improve upon the initial effect observed.
The whole treatment should usually take no longer than 10 - 15 minutes and you can normally drive immediately and go about your usual activities.
Does it hurt and what could go wrong?
Most patients find that muscle relaxants cause little discomfort. Many compare the feeling to a little insect bite! As the treatment is very quick, the needles used are tiny and only minute amounts of liquid are being injected into the skin; few patients experience any significant pain.
A few patients do, however, prefer to have a cream called EMLA applied half an hour or so prior to treatment to help numb the skin.
Other risks or side effects include a small amount of temporary bleeding or mild swelling which may occur at the injection site. In some cases more extensive bruising may occur, especially around the eyes, but this can usually be covered up with make-up, and is only temporary.
Occasionally, patients experience a headache after treatment, and, very rarely, double vision.
When muscle relaxants are injected into the forehead area, there is a very slight possibility that it may cause weakness of the muscle holding up the eyelid causing a 'partial ptosis' or drooping of the upper eyelid.
This tends to happen in less than 1% of patients and will disappear over a period of 2 - 10 weeks.
All patients should remember that because the results of muscle relaxants are not permanent, any unwanted effects will disappear usually within a 3 month period.
What should you do after treatment with muscle relaxants?
Post-treatment advice may include:
For a few hours after injections actively contract and use the muscles in the treated area. Work your face and practise frowning and smiling! There is some evidence that this helps the treatment to work better by speeding up the absorption of muscle relaxants;
For a few hours after injections do not rub, or massage the treated area, or undertake vigorous exercise. Avoid any form of facial treatment or massage to reduce the risk of the muscle relaxants spreading to adjacent muscles where it might cause the eyelid to droop;
Waiting for up to two weeks for the treatment to work fully, so be patient! Most people will find that, even after this period, if they try really hard, they can still move the muscles to a small extent in the area treated. This is quite normal. The aim of the treatment is not to prevent you from moving the muscles in your face, but merely to reduce the number of times that your muscles contract as this is when wrinkles occur.
Contact your practitioner if, after 14 days, you find that you can still use the muscles treated to the same extent as before the treatment and you cannot see any apparent improvement, contact your practitioner and they will normally repeat the injections free of charge. Sometimes your practitioner will ask you to return two weeks after your first treatment so that they can monitor the results. This is good medical practice and nothing to be afraid of;
Contact your practitioner immediately if you experience any drooping of the eyelid or adverse eyebrow position or bruising problems, or infection following treatment.
Who should not have treatment with muscle relaxants?
Muscle relaxants should not be used in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The manufacturers have not performed clinical studies in this group, for obvious reasons, although it is not thought to be dangerous to developing babies.
If you are currently trying for a baby it might be wise to delay any cosmetic treatment.
Patients who have any diseases that affect muscle activity, may not be suitable for muscle relaxant injections. You must discuss this with your practitioner.
If you have any bleeding disorders or are taking drugs that affect bleeding time, or certain aminoglycoside antibiotics, your practitioner may advise against treatment.
You should be prepared to tell your practitioner about any medication which you are taking and any allergies you have.
Make an Appointment with Jolanta in Bournemouth, Southampton or Clanfield
You may see Jolanta in a private salon in either Bournemouth, Southampton or Clanfield Hampshire - if you would like a chat or would like to book a consultation,
please call 01202 736644 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.