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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000 May;122(5):691-5.

Botulinum toxin injection of the cricopharyngeus muscle for the treatment of dysphagia.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA.



This study was conducted to evaluate, subjectively and objectively, the diagnostic and therapeutic effects of botulinum toxin (Botox) in patients with dysphagia caused by cricopharyngeus (CP) muscle spasm and/or hypertonicity.


A retrospective chart review was done of 5 patients with normally functioning larynges treated with CP Botox injection for dysphagia caused by perceived spasm. Subjective measures of swallowing function after injection were obtained with a patient questionnaire. Objective data were obtained both before and after surgery by one or more of the following tests: modified barium swallow study, manometry, videostroboscopy, and fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing. Quality-of-life measures were obtained with a swallowing rating scale.


Overall, all patients had initial improvement in swallowing after Botox injection. The duration of benefit was from 2 to 14 months. There were no complications. Four of 5 patients had long-term benefits, as evidenced by decreased or eliminated aspiration symptoms, removal of tracheotomy, ability to eat solid foods, and weight gain. One patient continues to have poor swallowing function.


Botox injection of the CP muscle to treat dysphagia is effective in patients with underlying muscle spasm or hypertonicity. A positive response to Botox can also help confirm the diagnosis of CP muscle spasm.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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