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Botulinum toxin (Botox, onabotulinumtoxinA) is a material that has been known for over a century and used for medical purposes for more than 50 years. Its initial uses were for lazy eye (strabismus), blepharospasm (inability to move the eyelids in certain ways), and wry neck (cervical dystonia). In 2002, it was approved for improving and relaxing frown lines in the area (the glabella) between the eyes on the forehead and has been used successfully in more than over 11 million patients since that time, based on estimates from data supplied by the Allergan Corporation. In 2004, Botox was approved for sweating (hyperhidrosis), and in 2010, Botox was approved for the treatment of migraines.
A common misconception is that Botox actually paralyzes the muscles in the face. Although, this can happen with extreme amounts of Botox, most physicians strive to inject just the amount that allows the patient to have some limited activity but not so much that they have overactivity of the areas. Patients should know that Botox is not used to keep them from expressing themselves but simply to keep them from making facial grimaces and frowns that have become habits and are unintended. When done correctly, most people who are not trained cosmetic surgeons will not notice that a Botox procedure has been performed but simply that the patient looks more rested or happier.