Freezing: Botox Alternative?
Plastic Surgeon Asks: Can You Freeze Away Wrinkles?
New Technology Temporarily ZapsAway Forehead Wrinkles by Freezing
Promising results have emerged in a study by the California-based MyoScience, Inc, that injecting nerves connected to wrinkled foreheads with coldness, causes the skin to relax into a lineless finish. It’s a toxin-free alternative to treating unwanted lines and wrinkles, similar to what is being done with Botox and Dysport. From the early clinical trials, this procedure,which its maker calls ‘cryoneuromodulation’, appears to have the sam eclinical efficacy and safety comparable to the existing techniques.
During the 15-minute treatment, researchers used thin needles called ‘cryoprobes’ to shoot cold into temporal branch of the frontal nerve, which is located around the eyes and forehead. According to the makers, the cold interrupts nerve signaling by freezing the passage, which relaxes the grip of muscles that bunch up and cause forehead lines.
Once the cold passes through, the nerve regains regular bodytemperature within moments, though the nerve signal remains silenced for thethree to four month period of time that is comparable to length of time Botoxlasts. Researchers say the shot doesn’t cause any permanent damage. However,further testing is required to hone in on the proper technique, as well as,expand the testing group beyond the initial 31 people who took part in thestudy.
Study authors claim significant results were seen after two to eight injections. Side effects cited by participants included headaches and redness at the injection site, plus pain levels that coincided with those of Botox. Although the nerve quickly returns to normal body temperature, the cold temporarily “injures” the nerve, allowing the signal to remain interrupted for some period of time after the patient leaves the office.Researchers said they are still refining the technique and could not say how long the effect lasts, but it seems to be comparable to Botox, which works for about three to four months The 15-minute treatment is done using local anesthesia, according to the researchers. The current study only looks at forehead wrinkles; future research will study the procedure elsewhere on the face. Unlike Botox, which takes a few days to kick in, the effects of the cryotechnology are seen immediately, the researchers say.
Dr. Brian Glatt is a New Jersey board certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience utilizing Botox to smooth out wrinkles of the face. He states that, “physicians would need training to identify the nerve that should be targeted. Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.” He adds,“this may not be a replacement for Botox, but instead used as an alternative for people who don’t want an injection of a neurotoxin. In addition, there are considerable safety concerns with this technique as there is no way to determine an endpoint of the freezing – what if the nerves targeted are permanently damaged by the treatment? What if other surrounding nerves become damaged and affect other parts of the face in an undesirable manner?
If there were a procedure which does not involve any injections and would result in a “Botox-like” effect with a similar result and duration, there is likely a market for that. Something topical, such as a cream or ointment, which couls permeate through the skinwould be a true “game-changer”.” Although every cloud has asilver lining, Dr. Glatt says, “it seems like this procedure requires multiple risky and potentially harmful injections to obtain the desired effect versus 1 safe and accurate injection with Botox.”