Botox for Scars? New Research Suggests the Toxin May Help Improve the Appearance of Surgical Scars
Posted by Dr. Sam Rizk March, 03/22/2018 - 06:53 AM
New research suggests that we can add surgical scar improvement to the long list of conditions that Botox can help improve.
We know the wonder toxin can erase wrinkles. It also improves chronic migraine headache, puts the brakes twitching eyelids, stops extreme sweating, corrects crossed eyes, and may also have a role in treating depression and premature ejaculation.
There are three approved botulinum toxin type A products on the market in the US today-BOTOX® (Allergan), along with Dysport® (Galderma) and Xeomin® (Merz), and several more in the pipeline that should be coming soon to the U.S. market.
Now, a new study shows that early injections of the neuromodulator may improve the look of scars after facial reconstructive surgery. The findings appear in the March 2018 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®.
In the “split-face” study comprising 16 people, researchers treated one-half of their scar with Botox and the other half with inactive saline (placebo) solution immediately at the end of their surgery.
Six months later, independent plastic surgeons went back to take measurements and rate the appearance of both sides of the scar. And by and a large, the side treated with BOTOX looked a whole lot better.
Exactly how Botox improved the scar is not filly understood, but the study authors suspect that the temporary muscular paralysis induced by Botox may decrease movement and stress around a healing wound and that this relief of tension may help prevent facial scars from worsening.
Dr. Rizk’s observations:
This study provides welcome news for facial plastic and reconstructive surgery patients. It is, however, a small study so the results should not be taken as concrete evidence that BOTOX can improve all surgical scars, at least for now. Scarring is obviously a big concern for our cosmetic patients especially, and it is can be challenging to conceal facial scars during the healing process. How you heal is very individual and as a facial plastic surgeon, I take great pride in producing the least conspicuous scars possible by placing the most minimal tension on the wound during closure. It is for this reason that I pioneered 3-D endoscopic high definition facelifts, necklift and rhinoplasty, which dramatically reduce scars and downtime due to the precision they command. We can help minimize scars, but we cannot prevent them for forming as any incision heals by forming a scar. Everyone scars differently, based on many factors, including your skin type, skin quality and your age.
I always tell my patients to keep healing wounds out of the sun and to use silicone sheeting or other products to reduce scarring. If you have a history of developing noticeable red and raised scars, discuss this in advance with your facial plastic surgeon so that you can devise a game plan to minimize the appearance of your scar. In the future, BOTOX may well have a role to play, but additional studies are needed.
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