Botox—More than a Cosmetic

Botox logoEveryone knows Botox for its ability to smooth wrinkles when injected into the face, but Johns Hopkins researchers may have found another use that goes beyond the cosmetic.

In a recent study published in the journal Pain Medicine, researchers found that patients with a painful and debilitating nerve compression disorder  called thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) reported a significant reduction in their short-term pain after receiving a single, low-dose injection of Botox in a neck muscle.

The study suggests that Botox could be a non-invasive alternative to rib-removal surgery, which is the treatment of last resort for TOS.

“There haven’t been many alternatives to the use of surgery to treat this syndrome,” says Paul J. Christo, M.D., M.B.A., an assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study’s lead author. “Botox seems to be an effective treatment that avoids surgery’s obvious drawbacks, such as its invasive nature and long recovery time.”

Because the effect from Botox lasts only a few months, repeated injections would be necessary to maintain the results. Repeated treatments may lead to the development of antibodies to the compound in some patients, which would mean the toxin would no longer block pain, and therefore not all patients are candidates for Botox, says Dr. Christo.

Botox’s use as a cosmetic procedure is extremely popular. According to the most recent statistics from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery it was the number one less-invasive cosmetic procedure performed last year in the United States.  Dr. Haiavy offers Botox in his Rancho Cucamonga, California location.

The full release, Botox Eases Nerve Pain in Certain Patients, is available at the Johns Hopkins Medicine website.