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Wrinkle relaxers are products made from a bacterial source (no actual bacteria is injected). The naming of brands is not permitted by law in any website in Australia. There are currently 2 TGA approved products available in Australia but beware of unapproved types which can be ordered on overseas websites. Also ask what is being used by your doctor. The current types have been researched for over 30 years and thoroughly tested under very stringent conditions before TGA approval is obtained.
Injection of very small amounts of this product into the appropriate muscles will block the transmitter chemicals which are necessary for the nerve impulses that control muscle contraction. This will cause the muscle to stay in its relaxed and uncontracted position. Intricate knowledge of the facial muscles, their insertions and attachments and their function in regards to facial movement is vital for successful treatment. Your doctor should know all of these muscles in the face as well as the corresponding antagonistic (opposing) muscles to be able to balance the functional effect of these muscles to achieve the desirable cosmetic effect and the reduction or removal of these dynamic wrinkles.
Longevity of action of this treatment varies from 3 to 6 months, depending on the individual, age, severity of wrinkle, and the number of treatments undertaken. Initially, it is recommended to have treatment every 3 months for about 1 year. This will give the optimal result (the best possible outcome and reduction in wrinkle) by keeping the muscle in a sustained condition of inactivity. This will make the muscle take a longer period to recover and thus continued reduction of the wrinkle if you decide to discontinue treatment for any reason. After 12 months of treatment, the patient usually acquires an increased longevity of effect and may only need to repeat treatment every 4 to 5 months. There is no long-term deleterious effect in muscle action. It will fully recover in time but the wrinkle will return to its former glory if treatment is discontinued.
The effect will usually commence after 3 to 5 days but may take up to 14 days for full effect in the initial treatment. The doctor will usually review you at this time to see your result and to add further treatment, if necessary.
With proper care and treatment with the appropriate product and proper dosage, there have not been any serious side-effects reported. There have been horror stories in the past from inappropriate dosages and the use of inappropriate product. Thankfully, these have been rare incidences and have only occurred in inexperienced situations or by non-physician circumstances. The side-effects are usually the result of the needle, rather than the wrinkle-relaxer and include temporary mild bruising and/or swelling. Occasionally, mild headaches can occur for a few days, and rarely, more severe headache can occur. These are always temporary. However, many patients notice a marked improvement in their pre-existent migraine or tension-headache conditions and actually have the treatment to improve their migraine rather than for the cosmetic benefit. Rarely, unwanted mild muscle effects (eg. droopy eyelid) may occur if the product is injected inappropriately or, more likely, if the product has been massaged and moved to an adjacent muscle.
There are several different classifications of wrinkles. DYNAMIC WRINKLES are those wrinkles which are only present on active muscle contraction. STATIC WRINKLES are present even when the muscle is not used. There may be other contributing factors such as collagen loss or volume loss involved in these type of wrinkles. HYPERDYNAMIC WRINKLES are usually, but not always, in slightly older patients. These muscles are in an increased state of involuntary contraction e.g. the muscles attached to the corner of the mouth and which pull the corners into a downwards position, causing a sad look. Your doctor will recognise these differences and provide the appropriate treatment.
At the time of assessment of the result of treatment, it is important to realise that the clinical effect of a muscle-relaxer is to do exactly that (ie. relax the muscle). Success of treatment is judged by the inability of the muscle to contract rather than the desired reduction of the wrinkle. If the wrinkle is still present, partially or wholly, but the muscle is fully relaxed, then there are other factors involved in the formation of this wrinkle e.g. volume loo or collagen loss. Thus, extra muscle-relaxer will not improve the state of the wrinkle. Wrinkle filler or other treatment may need to be done in addition as the wrinkle relaxer has already contributed its maximum effect.
As previously mentioned, beware of cheap offers of wrinkle relaxers. You may be receiving an inappropriate cheap substitute or you may not be getting an appropriate number of " units" of product. This may result in unwanted side-effects, less result , or less longevity of action. You get what you pay for in most cases. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true!