In this post we will answer the following question:
How effective can be Botox injections for the reduction of synkinesis?
What is Botox?
Botox is short for Botulinum Toxin. Toxin in Latin is “poison”. Botulinum is “sausage”. Actually, Botulinum Toxin means “sausage poison”. It was discovered in rotten meat, in sausage, hence it was called that way.
How does Botox work?
What Botox does, it blocks a Neuromuscular junction. It is a place, the narrow gap where the nerve reaches the muscle and the signal from the nerve jumps over to the muscle. What Botulinum Toxin does, it blocks this junction. So the signals cannot pass from the nerve to the muscle anymore.
That is the reason why the synkinetic involvement reduces.
How Botox affects synkinesis?
Because the signals of synkinetic contractions simply do not reach the muscles. So, although these signals are still being formed in the brain and sent to the muscles, the signals cannot pass through the Neuromuscular junction and the muslce doesn’t receive the signals. So, the muscles will not contract. That also means, that any healthy, non-synkinetic signals, also cannot reach the muscles.
This process can be compared to a light bulb (muscle) and its switch (the brain). If your switch is damaged and it’s sending intermittent signals to your lamp, and you want to stop that, you don’t repair the switch, you just break the lamp, the bulb. The switch will remain broken, no matter how many times you break the bulb, it will still be sending intermittent signals until it is repaired.
So that’s the thing, that’s my opinion about Botox. Yes, it can be indicated in certain medical conditions, and we have to realize that Botulinum Toxin injections do provide certain improvement in manifestations of synkinesis. They reduce manifestations of synkinesis, but we have to realize that it’s a temporary phenomenon. After a certain time you have to repeat it again.
Effect from Botox is temporary.
When the Botulinum Toxin is injected, the Neuromuscular junction dies. It’s irreversible. So, the axon of the facial nerve has to grow a new, side branch to the same muscle to reconnect the nerve with the muscle.
That’s why it takes three, four, five months before you see that the Botulin Toxin effect has gone. It takes so much time for that new side branch to reach your muscle. After that happened, your synkinesis will come back again.
Why? Because the source of synkinesis did not change. It’s the wrong mimetic patterns of your brain. So, it is up to the patient to decide whether you want to do it or if you want to do something else.