Botulinum toxin to improve results in cleft lip repair: A double-blinded, randomized, vehicle-controlled clinical trial

Chun Shin Chang, Christopher Glenn Wallace, Yen Chang Hsiao, Chee Jen Chang, Philip Kuo Ting Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Most patients with facial scarring would value even a slight improvement in scar quality. Botulinum toxin A is widely used to alleviate facial dynamic rhytides but is also believed to improve scar quality by reducing wound tension during healing. The main objective was to assess the effect of Botulinum toxin on scars resultant from standardized upper lip wounds. Methods: In this double-blinded, randomized, vehicle-controlled, prospective clinical trial, 60 consecutive consenting adults undergoing cleft lip scar revision (CLSR) surgery between July 2010 and March 2012 were randomized to receive botulinum toxin A (n=30) or vehicle (normal saline; n=30) injections into the subjacent orbicularis oris muscle immediately after wound closure. Scars were independently assessed at 6-months follow-up in blinded fashion using: Vancouver Scar Scale (VSS), Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and photographic plus ultrasound measurements of scar widths. Results: 58 patients completed the trial. All scar assessment modalities revealed statistically significantly better scars in the experimental than the vehicle-control group. Conclusion: Quality of surgical upper lip scars, which are oriented perpendicular to the direction of pull of the underlying orbicularis oris muscle, is significantly improved by its temporary paralysis during wound healing. Trial Registration: NCT01429402.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere115690
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 26 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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