Though it is best known for smoothing wrinkles, Botox applications are more than skin deep – the drug has a role in treating disorders that range from migraine headaches to incontinence. Dr Gertruida Van Niekerk, a plastic surgeon at The Specialist Laser and Cosmetic Institute (SCIN) @ Wembley Square in Cape Town explains.
Since it was approved nearly 30 years ago, Botox has indeed become an essential in the fight against aging. However, medical advancements have now proven that Botox is effective in treating a range of medical conditions as varied as chronic migraines and back pain to excessive sweating and twitching eyelids.”
Botox has some surprising uses that are benefitting millions of people across the globe every day. Here are just a few:
1. Eyelid and facial spasms
Botox is the most commonly used medical treatment for eyelid and facial spasms.
2. Excessive sweating
Doctors noticed that patients being treated with Botox for facial spasms were sweating less. It was subsequently discovered that Botox is a successful therapy for people with a condition called severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis – or excessive sweating. Botox has since become a common treatment for excessive sweating under the armpits, hands, and feet.
3. Chronic migraines
Botox has been approved as a treatment for migraines after showing that it is effective in reducing episodes in migraine sufferers.
4. Neck spasms
Even before Botox was approved for frown lines between the eyebrows it was approved for its use in treating a disorder called cervical dystonia, which is characterized by abnormal head position and severe neck pain.
An interesting use of Botox is for the treatment of a condition called strabismus, or crossed-eyes, where the eyes do not line up in the same direction – one of the eyes may be looking straight ahead, while the other turns upward, downward, or to one side. Treatment of strabismus is done by 0pthalmologists.
6. Overactive bladder
Botox has been shown to be one of the most effective treatments for an overactive bladder. These injections are done by urologists.
So when you think about Botox. Think again. This powerful drug therapy brings daily relief to many millions of people around the world who suffer from these disorders.
About the Author
Dr Gertruida van Niekerk is a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon at The Specialist Laser and Cosmetic Institute (SCIN) @ Wembley Square in Cape Town, South Africa where she specialises in all areas of cosmetic surgery; non-surgical procedures such as botox and fillers; as well as congenital abnormalities of the ears, cleft lip and palate; congenital hand abnormalities; birthmarks; skin cancer; burn reconstruction; and reconstructive surgery of the lower leg and chronic wounds.
Dr van Niekerk’s experience over the years includes time spent working at the Tygerberg Academic Hospital, Karl Bremer Hospital, Groote Schuur Hospital, and the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, all based in Cape Town.
Following this she spent 6 months at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, in London, focusing on cleft palate surgery and craniofacial/paediatric plastic surgery and the management of congenital defects. Most recently Dr van Niekerk completed a 6-month fellowship in microsurgical reconstruction, focussing on breast, lower limb, chest wall and spinal reconstruction at the St George’s Hospital, London, UK.