Thursday, September 14, 2006
I saw this blurb somewhere else but it's somewhat interesting.
There's a study showing some short term (6 month) follow-up of using BOTOX cosmetic
as an aid to improving facial scar quality. This may sound strange, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Botox is a product sourced from the toxin produced by the bacteria that causes botulism. It has the effect of muscle paralysis. The first indications for it's use were in opthamology for problems with eyelid muscles, when one of the physicians noticed an improvement in brow/forehead wrinkles which are produced or exagerated by the muscles of facial expression. This observation birthed a multi-billion dollar industry.
Since it's original indications, we've seen series of patients being treated for migraine headaches, incontinence, prostate enlargement, hidradenitis (infected sweat glands in the armpits & groin), excess sweating of the palms/armpit, etc....
How does this improve scar quality? Well in areas of facial expression the movement of the underlying muscles causes shear & tension on the wound. Selectively paralyzing these mimetic muscles presumably would decrease that & improve scar quality.
Is BOTOX practical for this use? Not currently. The true cost (sans mark-up) is nearly $500 USD per vial of 100 units of the product. It would take ~15-20 units in many areas to paralyze selective areas for this & he patient would likely be charged several hundred dollars for this out of pocket. This makes it cost-prohibitive for most patients & would make this a real niche market. It is also not clear whether this suggested effect of BOTOX is going to be real & reproducible or superior to many other product used topically for improving scar quality (eg. Scar-Gard, Mederma, etc.)