What are the Differences Between Botox and Dysport?

difference between botox and dysportBotox and Dysport have become very popular over the past few years.  Between advertising, reality TV, and the explosion of anti-aging treatments, there are very few people that have not heard of these two popular products.  It feels like everyone is getting these treatments (including me!).  These products have many uses in the medical field and patients commonly ask what is the difference between Botox and Dysport.  In this blog, I will do my best to explain their similarities and differences.

What are Dysport and Botox?

They are injectable forms of Botulinum Toxin Type A.  Their official names are Botox Cosmetic and Dysport.  Botulinum toxin is produced from bacteria called Clostridium Botulinum.  This is not the first medication that is produced from bacteria as the commonly known product, penicillin, is also produced from bacteria.

How do Dysport and Botox work?

Botox and Dysport work by temporarily preventing a nerve from activation.   On a molecular level, nerves excrete a substance called neurotransmitters.  These neurotransmitters then connect to a muscle, gland, or other nerve to activate it.   Botulinum toxin A works by preventing the release of neurotransmitters at the synapse between a nerve and its target.  The specific neurotransmitter that it prevents from excreting is called acetylcholine.

How are Botox and Dysport Similar?

 Botox and Dysport have more similarities than differences.   Botox and Dysport are similar because:

  1. They have the same active ingredient, botulism type A.
  2. They both work the same way
  3. They treat similar conditions
  4. They are injected in the same manner (at least in my hands)
  5. They are both equally safe

How are Dysport and Botox Different?

The differences between these 2 products are at a fine detail level.  The root difference between the 2 products is in the preservative that the active ingredient is mixed.  The preservative that is mixed in Dysport contains less protein.  In essence, Dysport is a more pure form of botulinum toxin.  I believe this is the basis for the subtle differences between the 2 products.

The following is a list of qualities on how Dysport and Botox differ:

  1.  Studies show that Dysport has a faster onset of action.  Typically, Dysport starts working in 2-3 days as opposed to 3-5 days for Botox.
  2. Studies have also shown that Dysport may last longer.  Dysport typically lasts between 3-12 months while Botox may last 3-6 months.   Dysport has less protein in the solution, which may cause a silent immune reaction in which the body produces antibodies against it.  These antibodies may prevent Botox from working as well in the long term. Less antibodies = longer lasting results.
  3. Some studies have shown a slightly decrease in pain during the injection of Dysport when compared to Botox.
  4. Botox has been shown to be more effective in treating excess sweating when compared to Dysport.
  5. Dysport contains trace amounts of cow protein.  Any patient with a serious allergy to milk protein should not use Dysport, but may use Botox.
  6. Dysport may spread more after an injection.  This may be a good or bad quality.  It is a good quality because an injector can treat a larger area with fewer injections.  It can be a negative quality if it spreads to an unwanted area.  In my practice, I use a concentrated dilution of Dysport to limit the spread of Dysport.
  7. Dysport is typically cheaper in most practices.  I have never heard of it being more expensive than Botox.
  8. Botox has more brand recognition.

So What is the Most Important Aspect in Deciding Between Botox and Dysport?

The most important aspect in trying to understand which product is best for you is the choice of your injector.  The technique of actually injecting Botox and Dysport is easy.  The difficult aspects of undergoing these injections are:

  1. The facial analysis
  2.  The unique differences in facial anatomy
  3. The subtle differences in the injection location to make a good result a great result

For these reasons, I believe the decision on who is going to do the injections is more important than the type of botulism toxin used.  I would always recommend patients trust their face to a facial expert.  If a patient wants to have Dysport or Botox in Charlotte they should consult with a qualified injector.  As a facial plastic surgeon in Charlotte, I have intimate knowledge of the facial anatomy and function and strive to get fantastic results for my patients.  If a patient is interested in undergoing Botox or Dysport injections in my office in the Southpark area of Charlotte, please call (704) 842-3644.

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