Thursday, September 14, 2006

The utility of Botox cosmetic for improving scar quality

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
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.)



Anon said...

wow, so after bell's palsy, botox is poised for minimizing scar...this botulinum toxin sure is something.

dmarston1 said...

Yes, this is an interesting post. I knew they've been finding more and more uses for botulinum toxin. So, it's nice to know Botox may be an option for those who have facial scars (who don't find the cost to be prohibitive).

I found some more interesting information on this topic at

Their site does a pretty good job explaining what conditions Botox Cosmetic can be used for. And, there are some testimonials as well.