Dermatology

Botox for Scars?

Botox truly is the wonderdrug of my generation. Who would have ever thought that a toxin could be manipulated to provide so many incredible health benefits?

I recently came across an article discussing the utility of Botox injection in improving the outcome of surgical scars. The conductors of one of these studies did a split-face study and examined the difference between injecting half of a scar with Botox and the other half with saline and found that the Botox-injected half healed with a finer, better-contoured, less-noticeable scar.

We have also used Botox in practice to treat high-movement areas prior to a skin surgery or skin cancer removal. Think about a skin cancer that is located on the forehead. By injecting Botox into the forehead muscles ahead of time, allowing 2 weeks for the Botox to settle in completely, and then performing the surgery, we have essentially created a static, non-moving surgical site that stays at rest through the critical phase of wound healing. Less movement of the area leads to less stress and strain on the delicate collagen fibers that are forming to heal the site.

In my practice, the most ideal situation involves injecting Botox 2-4 weeks before the surgery to allow ample time for the Botox to fully take effect in relaxing the muscle fibers around the treatment area. However, if this is not an option, studies have shown that injection of Botox same day as surgery or shortly after still has significant clinical effect. The effect of scar improvement is not applicable to mature scars as the collagen generation and scar development is already established, in contrast to a fresh surgical site.

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