Best Known as a Beauty Treatment, Botox has a Range of Medical Uses
A multipurpose treatment most commonly associated with keeping wrinkles at bay has transformed the quality of life for an Emirati man suffering from incontinence, with surgeons at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi injecting his bladder with Botox to control his embarrassing symptoms.
Dr. Zaki Almallah, a consultant urologist and physician in the Surgical Subspecialties Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, said the 31-year-old patient was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at the age of 15, which had caused him to suffer from urge urinary incontinence (UUI), or an overactive bladder.
UUI is a condition in which a person suddenly needs to urinate and often leaks urine, which can be caused by an overactive muscle and spasm of the bladder. Botox, which is an approved treatment across a range of indications, can be particularly effective for some patients with bladder problems.
The minimally invasive procedure, which takes less than one hour, involves the treatment being injected into the bladder muscle by the surgeon using a cystoscopy – a thin tube with a camera and light on the end. This is inserted into the patient’s urethra and then into the bladder, enabling the physician to accurately make the injection.
“Urinary incontinence has a profound impact on the quality of life of many people,” said Dr. Almallah, who heads the Bladder Clinic at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. “While millions of people worldwide have an overactive bladder, it is also a common bladder dysfunction for about 80 percent of people diagnosed with MS.
“In this case, the Botox relaxes the bladder muscle, which enables the patient to store a larger amount of urine and reduces the symptoms of an overactive bladder. The injection takes about 10 to 14 days to begin working and lasts between nine and 12 months before the patient needs to have another injection,” he added.
The patient, who is married and has a young family, said he had sought treatment for his overactive bladder in the UAE and as far afield as India and South Korea, but was unable to find an effective treatment to control his symptoms.
“Friends recommended Dr. Almallah and I was finally able to get the treatment I needed closer to home, which has made a huge difference to my life,” he said. “The condition caused me so much embarrassment and affected my daily life greatly, but since receiving the treatment, the change has been incredible.”
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Bladder Center, which comes under the Surgical Subspecialties Institute, offers patients with urinary incontinence a range of treatments, including bladder slings, bladder injections and sacral neuromodultion, which is a type of electrical stimulation therapy.