Neuromodulators are just one of the many types of cosmetic services that Dr. Krant utilizes to give her patients a smooth, youthful appearance. Never heard of a neuromodulator? If not, we bet you’ve heard of Botox® before, right? Botox® is one type of neuromodulator. In this post, we’re going to explain exactly how neuromodulators work as well as the different types of procedures that involve neuromodulators.
Neuromodulation is defined by the International Neuromodulation Society as, “The alteration of nerve activity through targeted delivery of a stimulus, such as electrical stimulation or chemical agents, to specific neurological sites in the body.”
Essentially, a neuromodulator is a messenger released from a neuron that affects the transmission of the signals between neurons. This is different than a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are also messengers released from neurons, but they are released to carry a message across a specific junction, called a synapse. The neurotransmitter diffuses across this junction to affect one or sometimes two postsynaptic neurons, a muscle cell, or another effector cell.
Botox® Cosmetic is an FDA-approved injectable treatment that can improve the appearance of dynamic expression lines and wrinkles by causing relaxation of the facial muscles. It is also one of the most popular neuromodulators that Dr. Krant offers.
The medical term for Botox® Cosmetic is botulinum toxin A, a compound produced from bacteria (Clostridium botulinum). When this compound is injected into the targeted area beneath the skin’s surface, it binds to receptors in your muscle. In doing so, it acts as a messenger by signaling to block the release of a substance called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is responsible for activating muscles, thus by blocking this substance the muscles become inactive. This helps to diminish the appearance of wrinkles that form due to repeated muscle contractions. Since Botox® works by inhibiting nerve transmission, it is classified as a neuromodulator.
Dysport® is another type of neuromodulator that works in much the same way as Botox®. It is also a type of botulinum toxin A, but has a few minor differences. For instance, Dysport has a slightly quicker onset (2 to 5 days versus 4 to 7 days for Botox®), which means you’ll see results faster. Also, Dysport is able to diffuse more than Botox®, meaning it spreads to a wider area. This can be either an advantage or a disadvantage depending on what area is being treated.
Overall, Dysport®, like Botox®® Cosmetic, helps to smooth the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles for younger-looking results. Schedule a consultation with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jessica Krant to see which neuromodulator she recommends based on your unique needs and goals.