Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Botox helps patients with variety of medical issues

Published: Aug. 27, 2017 at 11:37 AM CDT
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When many of us hear the word ‘Botox,’ cosmetic comes to mind. However, Botox is used for so much more, helping patients with a variety of medical issues get back to their normal life.

“Well, we’re going to do the same injection pattern, same dosage and then hopefully get the same amount and volume of results. So Wayne has what what’s called hemifacial spasm. It is a medical disorder that is caused by over activity or over excitability of the seventh cranial nerve or the facial nerve,” said Dr. William Rossing, neurologist with Avera Medical Group Neurology.

“Your eye’s always twitching and you try to rub it to make it go away, and it just never really stops,” said Wayne Leuning who was diagnosed with hemifacial spasm a year ago.

Leuning decided enough was enough was the spasms were interrupting his everyday life.

Dr. Rossing says when patients like Leuning first come in, they get an MRI of the brain and sometimes a blood vessel MRI if something is abnormal. For 90% of patients, there’s not an underlying cause.

Botox therapy is the route most patients choose to go.

“I was expecting surgery and how long it’s going to entail. It was real simple. I laid down here, three or four minutes, got some shots in the face and I had it done about noon -- and by the end of the day it was working,” said Leuning.

“When we use it, we inject it into a muscle. And what it does is it blocks the very distal nerve endings to motor nerve endings that want to connect to the muscle. And so it blocks the release of a chemical or neurotransmitter called acetylcholine and by blocking that release, it stops the communication between the nerve and the muscle that allows the muscle to relax,” said Dr. Rossing.

The toxin itself is not damaging to the muscle or body. Eventually it will wear off and the spasm gradually develops again.

“The minimum frequency that we will do is every three months but there are patients, depending on what their condition is, that may go four months, five months, sometimes six months. Some people I’ve seen just on an annual basis; they’re very sensitive to the medication,” said Dr. Rossing.

“Mine lasted, I would say, nine months to 11 months. So definitely do it. I mean, it works well.

Botox can also help treat patients with severe migraines and severe underarm sweating.

For more information, just call 877-AT-AVERA.