Serious Botox Complications

The most severe Botox complications that can arise are related to difficulty breathing, swallowing and/or breathing. To know how these can happen, it’s important to understand how Botox works in the first place. Another name for botulinum toxin, the toxin can cause paralysis in large amounts. While that’s bad for your whole body, it’s good for small areas of skin where wrinkling may be more noticeable, as Botox injections can relax the skin. This makes wrinkles appear softer and less noticeable.

While Botox is intended to affect the muscles in your face, it can have the unintended consequence of weakening the muscles you use to breathe and/or swallow. This occurrence is most common in those that already have a swallowing or breathing disorder, which is why full disclosure with your physician is vital to minimizing the risk for Botox complications.

Another concern is the risk for a condition known as botulism, where the toxin spreads throughout your body and causes symptoms such as muscle weakness, double vision, drooping eyelids, hoarseness or loss of bladder control. What’s important to note is that no confirmed case of botulism has been noted in patients who received the recommended dose of Botox. This is why seeing a reputable physician for your Botox treatments is so important.

Severe symptoms don’t always appear moments after Botox injections. You could have symptoms weeks after injections, which is why knowing the symptoms are important to keeping healthy.

Less-Severe Complications

Other side effects associated with Botox are less severe. These include:

  • Headache
  • Bruising
  • Neck pain
  • Discomfort, especially where the injection was given
  • Fatigue
  • Eye issues, such as blurred vision or headache

Just like peanuts and cats, you also can be allergic to Botox. If you have symptoms such as itching, breaking out in hives, dizziness or wheezing, these indicate an allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

Your Two-Pronged Protection Plan

Franklin D. Richards, MD, FACS, Chief of Plastic Surgery at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., recommends a two-pronged approach to minimizing Botox complications and risks.

The first step is educating yourself beforehand (reading this and other similar articles are a good start). If you are on a daily aspirin regimen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), these medications can increase your risk for bruising. Talk to your doctor to determine if you can cease your regimen 10 to 14 days before undergoing Botox treatments. The next pre-injection portion is full disclosure to your physician.

“Be very clear with your doctor about all your medical issues,” Dr. Richards says. “In the consultation, you have to have a very open dialogue and really be very clear about what you want to have treated so that your doctor is very clear on your goals and what you want to achieve.”

Listen carefully to your physician’s instructions for your care post-Botox injection. This includes minimizing your activity level. You want to keep the Botox exactly where it was administered. This means refraining from massaging or compressing your face. By taking it easy for a day or slightly longer, you can ensure your best, most beautiful results.

Remember too that full disclosure is important after you have Botox treatments. If you are seeing another care provider, make sure you tell him or her that you’ve recently had Botox treatments in case it could interact with future medications.