Botox (Botulinum Toxin) Information and Risks | MedStar Health

Basic facial movements like smiling, frowning, squinting, and chewing can lead to wrinkles that may make you appear tired or angry, even when you are not. In order to smooth your wrinkles, you may seek cosmetic treatment.

Most people, when they think of cosmetic wrinkle treatment, think of Botox® first — and for good reason. Botox, the brand name for botulinum toxin type A, is the only treatment approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to temporarily improve the appearance of both moderate to severe frown lines between the brows and crow’s-feet. It works by using a purified substance produced by bacteria that is then injected into the skin. The toxin blocks nerve impulses, temporarily paralyzing muscles that cause wrinkles and giving you a smoother, more refreshed appearance.

It can be used to smooth wrinkles such as:

  • Frown lines
  • Crow’s-feet
  • Forehead furrows
  • Skin bands on the neck

Botox, in combination with other cosmetic skin procedures such as chemical peels, dermal fillers, or dermabrasion, can further improve your results. This combination of therapies can even help prevent the formation of new lines and wrinkles.

Planning and recovery

What to expect?

You and your surgeon will discuss in detail your concerns, anticipated results, and how the procedure will be performed. You will be evaluated for any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors and given an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

Your treatment is an injection that is given in your surgeon’s office. He or she will use a thin needle to inject small amounts of Botox into specific facial muscles. The number of injections will depend on your facial features and the extent of your wrinkles. Most treatments take less than 15 minutes.

Recovery after treatment

You can resume normal activities immediately after treatment. However, do not rub or massage the treated areas after treatment because it can cause the toxin to migrate to other areas of your face. This can cause temporary facial weakness or drooping.

Results are generally noticed within a few days to a week. After about 3 to 4 months, the effects of Botox will fade.

Our locations

Distance from Change locationEnter your location

MedStar Health: Plastic Surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

3800 Reservoir Road NW,
BLES Building
1st. Floor
Washington, D.C., 20007


MedStar Health: Plastic Surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center

106 Irving St. NW
POB North
Ste. 3400
Washington, D.C., 20010

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar Health: Plastic Surgery at McLean

6862 Elm Street
Suite 800
McLean, VA 22101


MedStar Montgomery Medical Center

18101 Prince Philip Dr.
Olney, MD 20832

MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

7503 Surratts Rd.
Clinton, MD 20735

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Am I a candidate?

    You may be a good candidate if:

    • You’re physically healthy
    • Your expectations are realistic
    • You understand the risks that come with this procedure
    • You’re unhappy with wrinkles on your face related to facial movement

    This procedure is generally performed on patients between 18 and 65 years of age, but older patients may also be candidates for Botox. A consultation will help determine if it is right for you.

  • What are the risks?

    As with most procedures, Botox does pose some risks. These risks include:

    • Bruising
    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Redness
    • Pain
    • Temporary facial weakness or drooping

      Very rarely, the toxin can spread beyond the treatment area, which can cause botulism-like signs and symptoms such as problems with breathing and swallowing, muscle weakness, and slurred speech.

  • How much does Botox cost?

    The costs vary based on your specific needs. When you come in for your consultation visit, we’ll be better able to discuss fees in detail with you. Our staff will also review the financing options available and help with any payment questions you may have.