A new technique that temporarily banishes wrinkles by freezing facial nerves has shown great promise in early clinical trials, according to researchers. If approved by the FDA, the technique could provide an alternative to Botox and Dysport, the two major brands of injectable Botulinum toxin type A.
Botox and Dysport are non-invasive alternatives to surgical procedures such as facelifts that temporarily paralyze certain facial muscles, reducing wrinkles by allowing other muscles to pull without resistance. This new technique isn’t the only promising alternative to Botox injections, as a topical botilinum toxin is also in the works for the near future. This is, however, the first non-toxic alternative.
How does it work? Doctors use small needles, called cryoprobes, to deliver cold to nerves running through the forehead. The cold freezes the nerve, both literally and figuratively, and even though the nerve quickly returns to normal temperature, it remains neutralized for some time.
Dr. Francis Palmer, one of the study co-authors, says that the effect seems to last about the same time as Botox injections, roughly three to four months. All of the 31 people who tried the procedure experienced fewer wrinkles after two to eight injections, with the most common side effects being headaches and skin redness. This is similar to common experiences with Botox.
However, unlike Botox, the results of the procedure can be seen immediately.
The procedure is still in development, and the study has not yet been carefully reviewed by the medical community. Further research and development are necessary, particularly to determine whether there might be any unanticipated side effects, before the procedure can be performed throughout the country. For people who want the benefits of Botox but are uneasy about injecting substances into their bodies, this technique can’t come to the market soon enough.