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Botox Results are Real, But Fleeting

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

As the baby boom generation ages, the popularity of cosmetic plastic surgery, as well as of non-surgical options, is growing. One of the most widely used of these non-surgical techniques for smoothing away facial wrinkles is injections of Botulinum Toxin Type A, commonly known by its brand name, Botox.

Michael Zenn, M.D., assistant professor of surgery in the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Duke University Medical Center, says Botox is safe and effective, but patients should keep in mind that its effects are only temporary.

"The Botox injection will last three to four months and then the patients will need a re-injection," Zenn says. "We saw this phenomenon when collagen came out and people were getting collagen injections. It's just not that popular anymore, and part of the reason is because it only lasts for three or four months and then you have to come back and have it again."

Zenn says Botox may be particularly helpful for someone who is considering a surgical procedure and wants to first get a sense of what the results will look like.

"I think it's good for someone who's maybe considering a brow lift or a procedure where they'll get rid of some of these wrinkles," he says. "I might say, 'Here, we'll try some Botox. Do you like the way it looks? Good. We can make it permanent with a procedure.'

"What I try to focus on are things that are going to make more permanent changes, where patients will do something, feel good about it and have it last. Botox is good from the standpoint that it can help eliminate some wrinkles, give people an idea what it would look like not to have the wrinkles there, but it's a temporary effect."

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