Cooler than Botox: ‘Frotox’ Nerve Hibernation

by Dean Anderson

Cooler than Botox: ‘Frotox’ Nerve Hibernation

For the last few decades, Botox treatments have swept the medical market, treating nearly six million Americans each year for conditions ranging from ingrained frown lines to splitting migraine pain. During cosmetic Botox therapy doctors carefully paralyze specific muscles via injections of a botulinum bacteria-based toxin, freezing the muscle contractions that create wrinkles. But the “cryotherapy” company Myoscience has taken the concept of freezing wrinkles quite literally in their latest product. The San Francisco-based organization recently announced the successful trials of their “cryoneuromodulation” devices, more popularly known as Coldtox or Frotox, which are capable of achieving wrinkle relief on par with Botox using extreme cold instead of injected toxins.

If you’ve ever braved a winter’s day without gloves, you may understand the basic biological processes behind Frotox’s muscle paralysis, explained Dr. Yannis Alexandrides to London Evening Standard, “If you get very cold, your hands might become numb and you could find it hard to move your fingers. This is the effect of cold on nerves.” Myoscience medical researchers took this basic concept created a system that can target specific nerves and deliver a jolt of cold to nerves that keeps it in a temporarily numbed state. The chill doesn’t damage nerves, but instead puts them in a hibernation-like period of “second-degree Wallerian degeneration” which lasts for up to four months, a time period comparable to most Botox treatments.

Frotox treatments begin with the application of local anesthetic to the treatment area, followed by 30-second bursts of cold to facial nerves. It takes between two and eight cold shocks to affect nerves, with most basic forehead treatments lasting ten minutes or less. Due to the anesthetic, there is no pain during the procedure, but patients describe a “pressure” on treatment sites.

Far from the four day “setting period” of Botox, Frotox takes effect immediately. This allows doctors to witness aesthetic effects of their treatment while the patient is still in the office, instead of waiting to hear back about issues like under-treated areas or eyebrow droops. According to Dr. Alexandrides, months of Frotox human trials have only seen mild negative reactions from patients such as redness at the treatment site, headaches, and facial discomfort, all of which are listed side effects to Botox as well.

While the need for local anesthesia doesn’t make the treatment easier for the needle-phobic, many are excited that cryoneuromodulation treatments don’t inject any actual chemicals into the body. This makes Frotox a welcome alternative for people who have had inflammatory reactions to botulinum products as well as those who have developed a chemical resistance to Botox's muscle-calming effects. Clint Carnell, the CEO of Myoscience, predicts an even wider market for his company’s newest product, stating to San Francisco’s ABC KGO-TV reporters, "We believe that we have a technology that could potentially be very effective across many different indications, whether they're movement disorders, whether they're pain, or whether they're aesthetic benefits.”

While cosmetic cryoneuromodulation methods like Frotox will soon be offered in clinics across the UK, Europe, and Canada, it could take nearly a year before the treatment gains FDA approval in the United States. In the meantime those looking for time-tested wrinkle reduction in America should check our articles on Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin treatments, or simply contact us! Our Botox Forum representatives are here to schedule you a free consultation at a cosmetic clinic near you!

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