History of Botox

How did a toxin become a tool in the fountain of youth?

Botox was not invented by Carolina Facial Plastics but we believe that any product that we are going to use on our patients, we are going to everything about it.  We want our patients in Charlotte to know how a toxin became a safe treatment of wrinkles of the face.

Botox is purified version of a toxin, botulinum, created by a bacteria.  It was first discovered by Dr. Justinus Kerner after unusual deaths in Germany after consuming sausages in the 1820’s. 

The next reported cases occurred 70 years later in the 1890’s.  As if a funeral is not bad enough, the next reported cases occurred when 3 people died and 23 people became paralyzed after a funeral dinner.  The culprit was confirmed by Dr. Emile Pierre van Ermengem of Belgium. 

Could botulinum be used as a weapon?  As it is said, all is fair in love and war.  In this case botulinum was going to used in both cases.  The United States produced botulinum capsules to give to Chinese prostitutes to slip into the food and drink of high ranking Japanese officers during WWII in the 1940’s.  It has been said this mission was not completed.

In the 1950s Botox was purified into crystalline form that could be used in minute quantities that would be the basis for their safe use in medicine.  Botox was first used in medical research in the 1970s as a safe treatment for non-invasive treatment for strabismus, “crossed eyes”.  Shortly thereafter, Botox was used for the treatment of essential blepharospasm, eye spasms.  After its successful use in treating these eye conditions, it use exploded into many fields in medicine including neurology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, ENT, dermatology, and plastic surgery.  Botox was finally approved by the FDA for multiple medical uses in 1989, but not for cosmetic uses.

Like many discoveries in medicine, the use of Botox to diminish wrinkles was discovered by accident in 1990.  A dermatologist, Dr. Jean Carruthers, was using Botox to treat muscles in spasm around the eye, and he noticed the disappearance of the wrinkle surrounding the areas he treated and thus one of the central tools in rejuvenating the face was discovered!  Botox’s use was so widespread and rapid, it briefly ran out of supply in the 1990’s.  It was not until 2002 that Botox was officially approved by the FDA for the use in the area between the eyebrows and in 2004 for treatment of excess sweating in the armpits. 

Today, botox is used at Carolina Facial Plastics PLLC for the treatment of wrinkles, migraines, and excess sweating.  Each patient at our facial plastic surgery office will get a full facial analysis by our Beverly Hills trained facial plastic surgeon in order to create a safe treatment plan to give you that refreshed look.