“Face lifts” have become common cosmetic surgery procedures for patients who want to minimize the appearance of aging. Most cosmetic surgery procedures are safe and effective, however, there have been reports of paralysis of facial muscles and other problems due to complications from injectables, such as Botox.
What Is Botox Migration?
A rare but potentially serious side effect of Botox injections is known as “migration.” According to the Journal of Neuroscience, this happens when the injectable Botox travels from the injection site into other facial muscles, and even the brain. The condition can lead to paralysis and other complications. Botox is an injected form of the botulinum toxin. Botulinum can be a very deadly form of bacteria, but can also be used safely to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Botox injections are trading off on a side effect of the botulinum toxin: they block certain nerve signals from reaching the muscles, resulting in a relaxation of tightened muscle tissue. This can smooth out the appearance of wrinkles on the face or neck. This can also be helpful in treating certain disorders such as nervous muscle spasms or “lazy eye.” However, in order to be effective, Botox must be injected in exactly the right spot. If the Botox injection is allowed to pierce a vein and travel to other areas of the face, partial temporary paralysis may be the result. Some patients have experienced difficulty with speech or freezing of facial muscles after a Botox injection was erroneously allowed to migrate to other parts of the face. Serious facial bruising can also result from misapplied Botox injections. These bruises are temporary but can give a very unattractive facial appearance.
How Can Vein Illumination Help Avoid Botox Migration?
Most Botox migration problems result from the accidental piercing of a facial vein, allowing the Botox solution to travel to other parts of the face. Vein illumination is a technology that allows healthcare professionals to use a hand-held vein visualization device to map peripheral veins on the surface of the skin. This technique gives healthcare providers a much more accurate way to locate facial veins to avoid them during injection procedures. It is also used to access veins for venipuncture procedures such as IVs and blood draws. Vein illumination technology has been a breakthrough in the science of vascular mapping.