Botulinum toxin is licensed for cosmetic treatments and has been used medically for over 30 years. It is a toxin that paralyses muscles temporarily, thereby stopping the formation of wrinkles. It is effective in reducing wrinkles on the forehead, the frown lines and the crows feet around the eyes. It can also be used to raise the brows or create an arched eyebrow. Botulinum toxin can also be effective in treating excessive sweating / hyperhidrosis in the armpits, palms and soles of the feet.

What should I expect ?

Your requirements will be discussed during the consultation to decide on the areas to be treated. Small amounts of the toxin is injected into the area to be treated, usually the armpit, the palms or the soles of the feet where excessive sweating is experienced. The needles that are used are very small but because multiple injections are required, it is usual to use a topical local anaesthetic to numb the treatment area an hour beforehand. The injected areas are usually a little red for the first few hours before settling down. It is important not to massage the injected areas and you should also avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for the first 24 hours. The toxin takes 3-7 days to work and usually lasts between 4-6 months. This may be slightly less at your first injection and longer if you have had treatments in the past. You should notice a decrease in sweating as the toxin starts to work.

What is the follow up ?

Follow up is undertaken 2 weeks after the injections. At this point a top-up injection(s) may be required if there are missed areas that are still showing signs of excessive sweating

What are the risks and complications ?

Redness : There will be some redness around the injection sites that will last for a few hours

Bruising : Bruising around the injection sites is uncommon. When it does occur, it is usually minor and settles in a few days

Continued sweating : A significant decrease in sweating should be expected and the majority of patients are happy with the results however you may still notice a small degree of sweating which is normal

Allergic reactions : Allergic reactions are possible but are very rare


Society of Surgical Oncology

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