Botox has been available for decades to treat fine wrinkles on the face but this involves injecting minute amounts of a poison to temporarily paralyze the nerves. An estimated six million doses of botox are now given every year so it is now the single most popular cosmetic treatment in the United States. Now a revolutionary new concept is being developed to replace botox. It involves freezing the nerve so it is temporarily damaged and therefore paralyzed for an equivalent amount of time as the botox injection.
of Redwood City California has developed a system to freeze nerves. Hollow needles are super-cooled at their tips by being filled with a pressurized refrigerant and then inserted into the skin. The needle tip freezes the nerve over a 30 second interval without harming the skin or surrounding tissue. In clinical trials, the effect lasted between two to four months, roughly the duration of Botox injections. The system is still in the trial phase in the United States and not yet FDA-approved. However, it was recently cleared for treating wrinkles and muscle pain in Europe and Canada.
Again, this is very new technology. The company is currently opening its first centers in Europe where it received clearance early in 2012. The before and after photos that I have seen though are quite impressive.