Botox (Botulinum Toxin) Musculoskeletal injections

Botox (Botulinum Toxin) Musculoskeletal injections

What is botox and how does it work?

Botulinum toxin A, is known as Botox and has been used by doctors for many years to treat many conditions. While it is best known for cosmetic purposes, Botox is also used to treat many musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. 

Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin from Clostridium botulinum. This bacteria is found in the intestines of fish and mammals. The bacteria can grow and create a neuotoxin that will paralyse muscles.  

Muscle contraction requires communication between nerves and muscles. When Botox is injected into muscle, muscle contraction is reduced. This is helpful when the muscle is too tight or in spasm.

How is the botox injection performed? keyboard_arrow_down

For a more effective botox injection, the needle must be guided into the targeted muscle by a musculoskeletal radiologist using either ultrasound or CT guidance. Ultrasound is used for superficial muscles like plantaris. CT is used for deeper muscles like pyriformis.  

The procedure does not require an anesthetic and takes 15 minutes.

The beneficial effects of the injection will commence within 5 to 7 days. 

The effects of the toxin will wear off after 4-6 months and the patient may require a repeat injection.

What muscles are injected with botox? keyboard_arrow_down

Neck and back muscles, upper and lower limb muscles in spasm. Specific muscles injected include piriformis, vastus lateralis and plantaris. Injection of plantaris and gastrocnemius muscles is also performed for functional popliteal artery entrapment. 

What are the benefits of the botox muscle injection? keyboard_arrow_down

The patient will notice reduction in spasm of the injected muscle. If the injected muscle is causing joint pain, following injection the joint pain should reduce and joint mobility should increase. The patient will experience an improved quality of life. 

What are the risks and side effects of a botox injection? keyboard_arrow_down

Botox is a commonly injected, safe drug that is well tolerated. The main effect of the injection is muscle weakness. Rare side effects include post injection site pain, headache, rash, dry mouth, flu like symptoms and difficulty swallowing. If the patient experiences any of these side effects, they should contact the radiologist who performed their injection. 

What are the contraindications to botox injections? keyboard_arrow_down

Botox injection is contraindicated when the patient has botox hypersensitivity, Myasthenia Gravis or signs of infection.

Can botox be used in pregnant or breast feeding women? keyboard_arrow_down

Botox injections in pregnant women should be cautioned and is only recommended when the benefit justifies any potential risk to the fetus. Breastfeeding is not recommended following injection. 

Do I need a driver to take me home after the injection? keyboard_arrow_down

Yes, it is recommended that you have a driver take you home after injection.

Can I exercise following a botox muscle injection? keyboard_arrow_down

It is recommended that the patient rest for 3-4 days following injection and then gradually increases load back to the pre injection level from days 5 to 7.