Botox: “The Little Injection That Could”

February 27, 2012

From crow’s feet to incontinence, Botox grows wings
From crow’s feet to incontinence, Botox grows wings

Jeff Wojciechowski, a 63-year-old Fort Washington man, has been paralyzed from mid-chest down, following a construction accident. Before his family vacation to Cancun he got a Botox injection, not between the eyebrows, but in his bladder muscle. Hopefully, this will give him a break from the incontinence he has lived with since his accident.

Wojciechowski’s Botox injection comes after FDA-approval of Botox for a distressing medical condition – the loss of bladder control due to neurological conditions. This is in addition to a growing list of medical Botox uses, including chronic migraines, muscle stiffness in the arm, disorder of neck and eye muscles and excessive sweating.

The significance of FDA approval is that Botox treatment for incontinence will now be covered by insurance, enabling many more people to receive it. According to philly.com, January 21, 2012, Patrick Shenot, a Thomas Jefferson University Hospital urologist leading the Allergan-sponsored clinical trial that Wojciechowski participates in, says “The results typically range from slight improvements to a total elimination of incontinence episodes.”

It’s no wonder that Botox sales have been skyrocketing for producers such as Allergan. Global Botox sales were $125.3 million in 1998, but they topped $1.4 billion last year with sales evenly split between medical and cosmetic uses. Interestingly, Botox was originally explored for its medical uses; the cosmetic application was discovered serendipitously. As Allergan aggressively pursues new regulatory licenses, sales of therapeutic (medically-used) Botox are expected to soon outstrip its cosmetic uses.

Medical Botox treatments require much higher Botox doses than cosmetic surgery procedures. Sidney M. Wolfe, founder and director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, says patients should be aware of the potential for serious side effects with larger doses and if the injection area is near the esophagus. But under proper conditions, most patients generally reap the benefits of Botox for medical conditions.

Most important for all Botox users is to know who is diluting the product coming from the manufacturer and to receive injections from a doctor with an understanding of the underlying anatomy and proper training to anticipate complications.

Bottom line: if you’re receiving Botox injections, make sure your practitioner is board-certified in the specialty that the Botox is being used for. For example, if you’re receiving Botox for incontinence, your injector should be a board-certified urologist.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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