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Botox® injections are famous for its ability to reduce wrinkles, as adopted by many movie stars and affluent individuals. In fact, Botox® is the brand name for botulinum toxin type A, which is the substance that was injected into the person’s face during the procedure. The brand was so famous that it has become synonymous to the procedure itself.
Botulinum toxin type A is a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Yes, you’ve read it right -- it is actually a toxin produced by microorganisms, which if ingested in large quantities can result in food poisoning.
However, when injected in diluted, small amounts into specific muscles in the body, botulinum toxin type A blocks the chemical signals that cause the muscles to contract. The injected muscles can no longer contract, which causes wrinkles to relax and soften and the area of the skin appears smoother and less wrinkled. This procedure, if done on the upper one-third of the face, offers predictable wrinkle-reducing effects, has few side effects and often yields high satisfaction rates among its patients.
In Malaysia, besides for aesthetic reasons, Botox® can be used to treat several health problems such as:
Neurological disorder which cause severe neck and shoulder muscle contractions
Spastic disorder associated with injury of the center nervous system including stroke and cerebral palsy
Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis
Botox® injection is generally safe if it is performed by a qualified and experienced medical doctor. Some of the potential side effects associated with Botox® injection include:
Pain, swelling or bruising at the injection site
Headache or flu-like symptoms
Droopy eyelid or cockeyed eyebrows
Crooked smile or drooling
Eye dryness or excessive tearing
In rare incidences, the botulinum toxin may spread in your body and as a result you may experience:
Trouble speaking or swallowing
Loss of bladder control
Side effects of Botox® injection have been reported as early as one day and as late as several weeks after treatment. If any of these events persist or worsen, you need to notify your doctor promptly.
The dose, number of injections, the site of injections, and how often you receive the injections will be determined by your condition and your response to therapy. Your doctor should be discussing these matters with you during a consultation.
Most people start to see an effect within a few days to 2 weeks, and the effect usually lasts 3 to 6 months.
In Malaysia, Botox® can only be injected by a registered medical doctor with a Letter of Credentialing and Privileging (LCP) issued by the Ministry of Health. The ministry stipulates that aesthetic medicine is a special area of interest in medicine and registered medical practitioners can choose to pursue it after their formal medical training and completion of the compulsory service to the Malaysian Ministry of Health. In other words, Botox® injection is not a procedure that can be carried out by any doctor.
However, due to a growing demand for aesthetic medical procedures in Malaysia, many beauty centres in Malaysia employ fly-in doctors from overseas or worse still, beauticians without medical background to perform the procedure. This poses unimaginable health risks that can jeopardize a person’s health or even lead to death.
Therefore, you should check beforehand if your doctor is registered in Malaysia, as well as possessing a LCP issued by the Ministry of Health.
➡️ To check if your doctor is registered in Malaysia, visit http://www.mmc.gov.my/index.php/medical-register
➡️ List of LCP certified doctor in Malaysia https://www.data.gov.my/data/en_US/dataset/national-registry-of-rmp-with-lcp-chapter-1-general-practitioner
The Guidelines on Aesthetic Medical Practice published by the ministry classifies Botox® injection as a minimally invasive procedure which must be carried out at a clinic. The environmental and cleanliness standards for a clinic is higher than a beauty parlour, which the clinic is supposed to be sterilised regularly and adequately equipped and staffed.
However, how to tell a clinic and a beauty centre apart, when there are many beauty parlours these days adopting confusing names such as “doc”, “medical”, “laser” and “aesthetics”?
As a rule of thumb, check the upper label of the clinics/beauty parlour’s signboard.
Getting your Botox® injection at a legal clinic reduces your risk of infection and suffering from any potential complications from the procedure. It is also illegal for your LCP certified doctor to perform the procedure outside the clinic.
If you are in doubt, don’t hesitate to clarify with the receptionist or the doctor whether the centre you go to is a medical aesthetic clinic or a beauty centre.
Before the injection, make sure you tell your doctor or pharmacist of all medications and herbal products you may use, especially of certain antibiotics, blood thinning agents, Alzheimer’s disease drugs, myasthenia gravis drugs and quinidine. This is because the botulinum toxin may interact with these substances or poses health risk when used along with them.
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