JULY 10, 2007 (STAR) In this age of vanity and botox, peopleís obsession to beauty are seen as skin-deep, or better still, confined to skin alone. Not many know that the hottest item of the hour ó botox ó can do wonders even beyond the skin.

Botox or botolinum toxin is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botolinum and is processed in medical laboratories. Though it is popularly used for dermatological purposes nowadays, it has been primarily used for medical therapy of many neurological diseases for years.

There are many types of botolinum toxins but only the type A is used for medical purposes. Botox is a trade name of botolinum toxin manufactured by Allergan.

It is botolinum toxinís toxic effect in food poisoning that makes it work for medical purposes. It functions by weakening the muscles to which it is injected by interrupting the transmission of impulses at the junction of the nerve and muscle.

In cosmetic applications, botolinum toxin is injected to reduce facial farrows. However, it has its many other uses like controlling spasms of muscles, i.e., hand tremors, limb spasticity, muscle contraction headaches, and dysphagia.

More importantly, botolinum toxin can treat vocal problems and help in attaining normal voice condition. It is helpful in laryngology where botolinum injection is used in spasmodic dysphonia, a state where movement of the vocal cords is forced and strained, resulting in a jerky, tremulous, hoarse, tight or groaning voice.

Moreover, it is also used for vocal interruptions or spasms, periods of no sound, and periods when there is near normal voice occurring.

Before one has to have botolinum treatment, it is important to have the correct diagnosis for spasmodic dysphonia. The otorhinolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat doctor) usually makes the diagnosis. Work-ups may also be advisable which usually include laryngeal videostroboscopy, laryngeal electromyography, and voice evaluation procedures.

Generally, the efficacy of botolinum toxin is about three months, but may vary depending on the patientís reaction. It may be as short as one month or as long as six months.

A week after the injection, the patientís voice may be a bit hoarse after which he will feel the effect of the therapy. Then, his voice becomes normal and it will be easier for him to speak.

Dr. William Lim has been at the forefront of treating various voice disorders through botolinum toxin procedure at the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory of St. Lukeís Medical Center since 1993.

Today, together with Dr. Rebecca Feliciano at the Voice, Sinus and Swallowing Center, they have been performing this procedure to an increasing number of patients who consider it as the treatment of choice in a number of specific cases.

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For more information about voice disorder treatment, call the St. Lukeís Voice, Swallowing and Sinus Center at 723-0101 local 4715 or 4716 or log on to

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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