Botox Can Help Reduce Pain Associated with Breast Reconstruction Surgery, Study Says

BotoxEver since its introduction, Botox has proved beneficial in improving aesthetic concerns. The role of Botox injection in cosmetic breast reconstruction surgery may be something new for the majority of you but it is a real fact, says a new study. According to this pilot study, Botulinum toxin A could help reduce pain and expedite expansion by relaxing the pectoralis major muscle in post-mastectomy tissue expander-based breast reconstruction. The study was first published online on March 30, 2015 in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

Whether immediate or delayed reconstruction, the expander may exert direct pressure onto the muscle, leading to pain. Here is where Botox proves useful by making the expansion phase in the reconstructive period more tolerable by relaxing the muscles.

The researchers studied thirty patients undergoing mastectomies with immediate expander or acellular dermal matrix reconstruction. Fifteen patients got four serial injections when they received 40 units of botulinum toxin A (Botox, Allergan; neurotoxin group) injected into each pectoralis major muscle. The remaining 15 patients were given four serial injections of 0.9% sodium chloride (NaCl; placebo group).

The researchers followed the patients for more than a year. Patient demographics, visual analog score, laterality, office visits, amount of expansion and number of times to full expansion, as well as the amount of required narcotics were recorded during the follow-ups.

  • The two groups were found to be similar in terms of age, laterality, expander size and complications.
  • Those who received the neurotoxin had less pain compared to those in the placebo group.
  • A considerable increase in the volume of expansion was noted during each visit in the botulinum toxin A group.
  • The narcotic usage for patients in the two groups was similar for the three days after surgery.
  • However, compared to the placebo group, the usage dropped significantly in the neurotoxin group from days 7 to 45.
  • The researchers reported no neurotoxin-associated complications.

The surgeon involved in the study explains “For some patients, the toxin can be injected into the pectoralis major with the use of ultrasound before or after surgery. In our study, the toxin was injected into the pectoralis major muscle during surgery by direct visualization,….The principle of muscle relaxation can be utilized in any implant based surgical cases, where the pectoralis major is elevated. This applies to both reconstructive and cosmetic breast surgery cases.”

Such new interesting applications of Botox injections are expected to improve its popularity in the coming years. Its wide usage in multiple applications is giving us clues on its capabilities to improve several other conditions, which are expected to be revealed in the years ahead.