Botox injections are seeing success as a new treatment for children with partial facial paralysis. According to Medical Daily, facial paralysis can result from physical trauma or tumor growth, which leaves nerves permanently damaged afterward. A recent study in the JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery journal indicates that Botox can help return symmetry to the patient’s smile, though further research is needed to determine the long-term effectiveness of the treatment.
Previously, the only treatments available were more invasive: Full reconstruction surgery or a muscle transfer, similar to a skin graft, to reconstruct the damaged portion of the face. Both treatments have had varying results.
According to the study, Botox injections had a 61 percent success rate in improving facial symmetry when smiling among the 18 patients, ages 4 to 17, that were part of the test group. The patients had varying degrees of facial paralysis.
“We used the software to measure the difference in vertical aperture between the paralyzed and nonparalyzed sides of the lip,” the authors of the study wrote. “For each patient, outcomes were determined by the change in lip deviation before and after botulinum toxin A injection. As such and knowing the potential for plasticity, the introduction of this treatment in the pediatric population can prove to be more beneficial.”
The study was a joint effort between researchers from the United States and Europe and was the largest of its kind involving a pediatric population. Botox has been used in adult patients for similar treatments in the past.