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New Technology Presents Alternative to Botox: Freezing Wrinkles

Posted: May 11, 2011

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To do the procedure, physicians use small needles—"cryoprobes"—to deliver cold to nerves running through the forehead, specifically the temporal branch of the frontal nerve, Palmer says. The cold freezes the nerve, which interrupts the nerve signal and relaxes the muscle that causes vertical and horizontal forehead lines.

Although the nerve quickly returns to normal body temperature, the cold temporarily "injures" the nerve, allowing the signal to remain interrupted for some period of time after the patient leaves the office.

The technique does not permanently damage the nerve, Palmer says.

Researchers said they are still refining the technique and could not say how long the effect lasts, but it seems to be comparable to Botox, which works for about three to four months, Palmer says.

Physicians would need training to identify the nerve that should be targeted, he adds.