Better Healing with Botulinum Toxin

Freddy Krueger is part of the past
- less visible scars in the face.
© Hemera

The scientists found in a study with 31 patients that an injection with botulinum toxin early after the occurrence of a wound - such as trauma from a dog bite, motor vehicle accident, or from a skin cancer biopsy or removal - paralyzes the region, creating a smooth surface in which the wound can heal. This prevents muscle movement from wrinkling the wound site, allowing for a flat surface for healing and leaving a smoother final scar. “This is the first medication found to minimize scarring,” says David Sherris, M.D., professor and chair of Otolaryngology at the University of New York at Buffalo.

Scars especially in the face can cause functional problems - they can interfere with eye closure, talking and eating. They can also be responsible for a deep psychological impact which can even lead to depression. “Botulinum toxin will give us the option to optimise healing of forehead wounds in the first place and possibly allow us to avoid later surgeries to improve the scar’s appearance,” explains Dr. Gassner M.D., fellow in Facial Plastic Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The same process also could work if an unsightly older scar is surgically removed, and then botulinum toxin is injected into the wound at the time of the scar revision surgery, according to Dr. Gassner. “That’s why our results with this natural poison are so promising,” he says. “We can now for the first time eliminate the muscles’ effect on healing for the first two to three months after the wound occurs.”

The next step in this research, according to Dr. Sherris, would be to conduct a Phase III, multicenter trial with hundreds of patients to determine the appropriate dosage of the botulinum toxin and to discover whether the injections are useful for better healing of scars elsewhere on the body, such as heart surgery wounds.; Source: Mayo Clinic Proceedings