30 July 2007

Botox minimises scarring

In a possible breakthrough for plastic surgery, Botox has been found to help minimise scarring as facial wounds heal.

Good news for people who have facial injuries or surgery is that Botox appears to have a positive effect on scars.

The Mayo Clinic Proceedings magazine, a peer-reviewed medical publication, reported a study by the Department of Otolaryngology (the study of ears, nose and throat) from the University at Buffalo in New York that showed that Botox minimised scars.

"The result is of substantial interest in the field of scar treatment,” said senior author, Dr David Sherris, who is chair of the department. “When a wound occurs, especially on the face, people are always worried about the scar. We can now try to improve scars with these injections."

Although this study addressed only facial wounds, Sherris said he expects this technique to be applicable to wounds on other parts of the body, such as the chest and the extremities.

But why should it work?
Wide scars are the result of the local muscles pulling the wound apart during the healing phase. “Botox temporarily weakens the surrounding muscles, thereby lessening the pull on the wound during the acute healing phase of the first 2-4 months," explained Sherris.

How the study was conducted
According to HealthDay News, the study included 31 people who had wounds or surgery on the forehead, an area that's particularly susceptible to scarring. The patients received either an injection of Botox or saline within 24 hours of wound closure.

Photographs were taken at the time the patients received the injections and again six months later. The photographs were reviewed by two facial plastic surgeons who weren't involved in the study. They rated the patients' wound healing on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 representing the best result. The two surgeons' scores were averaged to reach a final score for each patient.

The median scores for wounds injected with Botox were 8.9, compared to 7.1 for wounds injected with saline.

(Robyn von Geusau, Health24, updated July 2007)


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