Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Questions to Ask Before Doing An Aesthetic Procedure

Whether you are planning for a quick Botox fix or have a specific beauty concern, don't be afraid to ask questions! For patients considering a beauty makeover, getting an informative consultation with the doctor is the best way to achieve a favourable outcome. This checklist of questions before doing an aesthetic procedure will enable you to do some research and get the feedback you need to make an informed decision.

Is the Doctor a Qualified and Registered Practitioner?
There is a “doctor checklist” in the Malaysian Medical Council website. Do check out the doctor's qualification via the website's medical register. Only registered doctors qualified to practice in Malaysia will be listed in the register.

 Image source : The Star Online
"The desire to look and feel good is feeding a billion-dollar wellness industry but it remains one of the least regulated sectors in the country. There have been many reported complaints on cheating, overcharging and botched jobs resulting in permanent disfigurement." - The Star Online

Is the Procedure Done in a Registered Clinic or Hospital?
Aesthetic procedures should be performed in a clean, sterile and well equipped medical facility. Some individuals do not mind getting these procedures done in beauty saloons, hotel rooms and in their own home as long as they think that a “doctor” is performing the procedures. As a result, this can increase the rate of unwanted side effects such as infection and scarring.

 Photo & text source : The Star Online
Painful experience: A patient showing her photos taken before (left) and after beauty salon laser treatment at the MCA Public Complaints Bureau.

What are the Possible Complications from this Procedure?
Most non-invasive aesthetic procedures such as Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels and lasers have low complication rates when performed by a qualified and experienced doctor. Nevertheless, it is still necessary to ask about the side effects to make an informed decision.

How is the Procedure Being Done?
Ideally, the doctor should give a summary of how the procedure is being done and how long it takes to be done without using any medical jargon so the patient will know what to expect.

How Long is the Recovery Time After the Procedure? Can I Get Back to My Daily Activities Immediately?
Most non-invasive aesthetic procedures have little downtime. Certain ablative lasers such as Fractional lasers to treat acne scarring can have slightly longer recovery time of up to a week.

Is the Procedure Painful?
From my personal experience, this is the question that most patients will not miss out. If the procedure involves any degree of pain or discomfort, what types of pain relieve methods can be offered? You should also let the doctor know of any drug allergies to avoid being given the pain medication that you are allergic to.

What Kind of Results or Improvements can I Achieve After the Procedure?
Most patients will have their own ideas and expectations about what he or she wish to achieve from the aesthetic procedure and are advised to communicate these to the doctor. Communication between doctor and patient is the key to achieving realistic patient expectation and excellent results.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Botox for Wrinkle Prevention

Over the last few years, there is a tremendous increase in the number of patients in their 20's or 30's requesting Botox as a way to ward off future wrinkles. Botox treatment may no longer be dominated by baby boomers trying to turn back time. A growing number of younger women are going for the needle to improve upon their already youthful looks and prevent deep wrinkles from forming later on.

According to a research from Oregon Health Sciences University in USA, consistent treatments with Botulinum Toxin Type-A (eg. Botox) have a wrinkle preventing effect. The study suggest that patients who begin receiving injections every 3-4 months while in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s are able to prevent wrinkles from forming.

Aging causes 2 main types of wrinkles - dynamic and static wrinkles. Dynamic wrinkles occur only when we use our facial muscles to form expressions. During facial expressions such as smiling and frowning our muscles contract and cause the skin to wrinkle.

Photo source : American Society for Plastic Surgeons
Top photo : An example of dynamic wrinkles - forehead frown lines that disappear when the patient relaxes
Bottom photo : glabellar folds (dynamic wrinkles)

Static wrinkles are the wrinkles and folds that are present even at rest. They develop after the skin is being repeatedly folded during facial expressions. As we get older, a loss of collagen and elastin impairs the skin structure, thus causing the skin to be less able to spring back to its original position after facial expression.

Photo source : Just Jared
Actress Minka Kelly, 31 has been photographed with early mild horizontal static wrinkles across her forehead.

Photo source : AFP
Chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay has a heavily-lined forehead and deep static wrinkles. He is later reported to have received Botox treatment to flatten out his crinkly chin.

If dynamic wrinkles are eliminated with regular Botox treatment, by theory static wrinkles should not have the opportunity to form as the skin will not be folded during facial expression.

Unfortunately, nothing can stop the aging process and wrinkle prevention is just one way to delay aging. We should not wait until the appearance of deep wrinkles to receive Botox treatment. Static wrinkles will require more extensive treatment such as dermal fillers to minimize the wrinkles. Meanwhile, fight wrinkle formation with a broad spectrum sunscreen and no smoking.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Botox : Not Just for Wrinkles Anymore

Botox®, the medication approved by FDA for medical and cosmetic purposes is best known for its ability to temporarily erase wrinkles. It is common knowledge that Botox is administered to smooth frown lines and crow's feet but many people are not aware that Botox can be used to treat a variety of conditions : 

 Botox is well known as an effective wrinkle eraser

 1) Reduce Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
Excessive sweating of the armpits, palms or soles is an embarrasing complaint and can interfere with many daily activities. Fortunately, Botox can be injected to temporarily block the activity of sweat glands, and thus decrease sweating. The effects typically last about 6 months after which a repeat procedure will be needed.

2) Reduce Muscle Bulk
V-shaped faces have been an envy of many Asian women. As one of the common causes for a square jaw line in Asians is due to a bulky masseter muscle (chewing muscle), Botox can be administered to shrink the size of the masseter muscle. The procedure is simple and without any recovery time. However, the patient may need to wait up to 2 months to see significant results. Applying the same theory, Botox can also be used to tone down bulky calf muscles to give the appearance of slimmer legs.

Photo source : Dr. Kyle Seo
Left photo :  before Botox treatment
Right photo : slimmer jawline after treatment

3) Neck Rejuvenation
Aging causes the platysma neck muscles to weaken and eventually leads to "turkey neck" appearance which is characterised by pronounced vertical neck bands. Botox can be used to relax the platysma muscle and minimise the unsightly neck bands. This treatment is most appropriate for patients not keen on surgery but would like a smoother, more youthful looking neck line.
4) Lower Face Improvements
Small amounts of Botox can be injected to temporarily diminish the appearance of “gummy smile”, which refers to a smile where excess upper gum is showing. Besides that, Botox can be used to smooth a dimpled chin and produce a subtle upturn to the corners of the mouth to give a more pleasant appearance. Lastly, Botox may also be administered to provide subtle lifting and improve the contours of the neck and jawline in a procedure known as “Nefertitit Lift” (named after Nefertiti, an Egyptian queen famed for her beauty and in this instance, her well defined jaw line).

Queen Nefertiti is famed for her elegant neck

Do note that some of the above mentioned treatments are considered off-label uses of Botox. Currently, F.D.A. has only approved Botox for treating certain eye muscle disorders, neck muscle spasms, excessive underarm sweating, muscle spasticity in the elbows and hands, chronic migraine and eyebrow furrows. As Botox has an excellent safety record, side effects are minimal and usually non-permanent .It is important for patients to consult a qualified and experience medical professional to ensure a favorable treatment outcome.