Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery
Botulinum Toxin Injections (Botox)
Botulinum toxin injections
are used to treat a variety of disorders related to abnormal muscle
contractions. Botox is the trade name for botulinum toxins A and B,
which are forms of a naturally occurring substance derived from a type
of food poisoning called botulism.
How do Botox Injections Work?
Botulism occurs when someone
eats something that contains the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The
neurotoxins produced by the botulinum can cause paralysis in various
parts of the body. If the muscles in the chest become paralyzed, for
example, breathing becomes difficult and, in extreme cases, this paralysis
can lead to death.
When Botox is injected into a specific part of the body, the neurotoxins attach
themselves to the nerve endings that surround the affected muscles. The toxins
inhibit the release of acetylcholine -- the neurotransmitter that triggers muscle
contractions. In doing so, the Botox injections help your muscles to relax by
effectively blocking the signals your body sends to them that tells them to
contract abnormally or to spasm.
What Conditions do Botox Injections
Botox injections are used to treat a broad range of conditions. These include:
- Dystonia - involuntary, rhythmic contractions of the muscles. Dystonia
may occur in the arms, legs or in the neck. When it occurs in the neck, it
is called cervical dystonia.
- Blepharospasm - a disorder that affects the muscles that control
eyelid movement. It is characterized by increased blinking.
- Strabismus - a disorder that affects the muscles that support the
alignment of the eyes. Patients with convergent strabismus or esotropia, have
an eye that turns towards the nose. Patients with divergent strabismus or
exotropia have an eye that turns away from the nose. Although the eyes generally
turn in different directions with strabismus, sometimes both eyes will be
turned upward or downward.
- Spasticity - a disorder where muscles in certain parts of the body
are permanently contracted or tightened and unable to relax.
- Headaches - Botox is used to treat both migraine and tension heads.
- Hyperhydrosis (Excessive Sweating) - this is a disorder where people
sweat heavily from their hands, face or armpits. Sometimes this sweating is
related to a physical activity and sometimes the person sweats all the time
without any physical exertion.
Why Come to the
University of Maryland to Receive Botox Injections?
University of Maryland neurologists are very experienced with using Botox injections to treat the conditions listed above, and they consult with other members of a multidisciplinary treatment team when necessary to provide the best treatment for each patient.
This page was last updated on:
August 7, 2007.
For more information about the University of Maryland Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, or to make an appointment, call the University Physicians Consultation and Referral Service at 1-800-492-5538 (patients) or 1-800-373-4111 (physicians).