Long before ageing celebrities started freezing their faces, Botox was being used to treat a variety of medical conditions.
But it’s not until recently that Illawarra patients with neurological conditions have been able to take advantage of the benefits of medical Botox close to home.
Now patients with symptoms including excessive saliva, chronic migraine, writer’s cramp, jaw clenching and facial twitching can attend a weekly Botox Clinic at Wollongong Hospital.
Our local community now has access to this advanced treatment much closer to home.Dr John Carmody
The hospital’s senior staff specialist neurologist, Associate Professor John Carmody, runs the clinic which has been in high demand.
‘’Some neurology patients from the Illawarra and Shoalhaven have been travelling to Sydney for this treatment for 20 years,’’ he said.
‘’With the recently established Botox Clinic, our local community now has access to this advanced treatment much closer to home.’’
Many of the clinic’s patients are residents recovering from strokes, while the treatment also helps those with conditions including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy.
Botox is injected in minute concentrations using tiny needles in specific areas to temporarily relax overactive or contracting muscles.
‘’When injected into muscle, it works by blocking neuromuscular signal transmission, in effect, temporarily leaving the muscles without instructions to contract,” Professor Carmody said.
Patients need only a referral from their GP, with many conditions covered under Medicare.
‘’We have around 10 patients each week, treating a wide range of conditions,’’ he said.
‘’We have a man who’s suffered a stroke who uses Botox to straighten his arm and unclench his hand, because he hates the look of it.
‘’There’s another patient who has Parkinson’s which makes it hard to swallow so saliva builds up in his mouth and comes out, which is embarrassing for him.
‘’We have other people who suffer bad migraines 15 days out of the month and want some relief; and others who are concerned about excessive sweating.’’
The effects of the treatments kick in after a few days and last for three months, with any risks outlined prior to treatment.
Healthcare professionals or patients can contact the clinic on 4253 4430.