Botulinum Toxin is Effective in Treating Facial Synkinesis


Two new studies from the JAMA Plastic Surgery studied neuromodulators in treating facial synkinesis, With one of them comparing incobotulinumtoxinA (Xeomin), abobotulinumtoxinA (Dysport), and onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) among one another (Thomas et al., 2017).

To determine its efficacy, the researchers depended on the Synkinesis Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ). 

Based on previous literature, synkinesis is a rarely touched on subject. Despite such, previous studies of treating synkinesis with a botulinum toxin A had shown efficacy as well.

Thomas et al.’s study showed that incobotulinumtoxinA was the least effective among the neuromodulators and that onabotulinumtoxinA had the better efficacy among the three. In this study, effects showed at 4 weeks post-injection. Of course, the study remains to a specific sample size, and that the effects could be varied in other populations or samples. Similar to other studies, there have been minor and transient side-effects as well.

The other study focused on the buccinator treatment, wherein a comparison between samples was made (Patel et al., 2017). Two sample groups divided into one with buccinator treatment, and the other without. Patients who had undergone the buccinator treatment had significant improvement based on their SAQ scores.

Another study delved into treating the buccinator muscle (Wei et al., 2016), and the authors’ research resulted with some patients having minor but temporary complications after the treatment.

One of the earliest studies of synkinesis were performed using only a low dosage of botulinum toxin A on their sample, using only 2-10 Units (Ito et al., 2007). Only one adverse reaction was observed, which was minor hemorrhage.

Not all studies had minor side effects, as shown in Choi et al.’s work. There were cases of adverse effects after the injections, and there had been repeat injections done as well. However, the positive results of their study were achieving symmetry and relief for the patients.

Both of the JAMA studies determined efficacy using the SAQ scores. Similar to the prior research, treatment for synkinesis is deemed safe and effective.