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Not just for wrinkles

Times Staff Writer

BOTOX may do more than relax wrinkles and eliminate laugh lines among beauty junkies at high-end spas. Injecting Botox around a serious facial wound enhances healing and makes scarring less severe, a new study has found.

When repairing a serious facial laceration, surgeons seek to make scars as slight as possible. To do so, they try to reduce tension of the skin around the cut while the wound is healing.

But the continuous muscle activity of the face inflames the wound, making scars higher, wider and redder. Botox, in contrast, immobilizes muscles.

In the study, published this month in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., enrolled a group of 42 patients older than 18 who had either a traumatic forehead gash or had had a skin cancer removed.

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Researchers then injected botulinum toxin in the facial muscles around the wounds of half the patients and a placebo around the wounds of the others.

Patients were photographed after one week and then six months later, and two experienced facial surgeons rated the cosmetic outcome.

“Anyone with any kind of laceration or wound anywhere on their body -- this would help it look better,” said study coauthor Dr. David Sherris, a facial plastic surgeon now at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y. “Even for old scars, you could get it re-excised and make it look better.”


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