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Botox faster than face-lift, but requires maintenance

By Judy Fortin
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(CNN) -- It's been around for years, but Botox is still one of the most popular anti-wrinkle products on the market. Its manufacturer reports more than 3 million procedures were performed in 2005. CNN Medical Correspondent Judy Fortin found out how it works from Dr. Harold Brody, a dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon in Atlanta, Georgia.

Fortin: What is Botox?

Brody: Botox is a purified form of botulinum toxin.

Fortin: Why is Botox so popular?

Brody: Botox is unique in its ability to help lines that develop from squinting. The original use of Botox between the eyes is appealing to most people because everybody frowns from time to time and as they get older they are going to have some measure of frowning there. If you're a little younger in your 40s and you don't quite need a face-lift, then a filler Botox face-lift is fantastic. It gives you tightness in the chin line that you can't get any other way. (Watch to learn more about Botox. Video )

Fortin: Can Botox be used in any part of the face?

Brody: It is not limited to the upper part of the face and it can be used to produce an upturning of the corner of the mouth. It's also used for dimples in the chin and to tighten banding in the neck.

Fortin: What are some of the risks?

Brody: If you inject too low you'll get a brow droop and if you stay too high the wrinkles aren't going to go away. If an inexperienced physician injects in the banding under the neck that can produce difficulty swallowing. If you inject improperly in the lower face you can get a drooping of the lip which can produce an inability to smile. There is nothing worse than one eye open more than the other or the corner of a mouth out of symmetry.

Fortin: What can you do for people who don't like needles?

Brody: If a person says they are scared of needles or they don't want to have injections, I think the pain factor is well conquered. We have ointments that remove the sensation of pinprick, and I can block someone with anesthetic so they can't feel the material going in. Some of the material can feel like a burn.

Fortin: How much does it cost?

Brody: It is cheaper than a face-lift, but it's going to require a certain amount of maintenance. Botox is priced by volume. A small amount between the eyes costs less than other areas. It's about $350 and up for injections. The effects last about three months.

Fortin: Will Botox have any competition in the future?

Brody: A new form of Botox is coming in another year or so called Reloxin. It's the same as Dysport, which is currently used in England. It does not require refrigeration. We don't know the longevity. For now, Botox is still the star.

Judy Fortin is a correspondent with CNN Medical News.


Botox injections wear off after about three months and cost about $350 or more.


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