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Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Apr;87(4):312-7; quiz 318-20, 329. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e318168ceaf.

The use of botulinum toxin for spasticity after spinal cord injury.

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  • 1Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.



To describe the use and effects of botulinum toxin (BTX) injections in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) and focal spasticity.


Chart review of patients with SCI receiving their first injection of BTX for spasticity control at a freestanding urban rehabilitation hospital. Charts were reviewed for history and level of SCI, one of five self-identified goals (ambulation, positioning, upper-extremity function, hygiene, and pain control) before and after injection; site and doses of BTX used; and self-reported outcome on clinical follow-up.


Charts of 28 adults receiving BTX were reviewed. All patients received BTX type A. Dosages of BTX ranged from 10 to 119 units per muscle. Improvement was noted for 56% in ambulation and 71% in positioning. Overall, upper-extremity function improved in 78%, hygiene improved in 66.6%, and pain decreased in 83.3%. Early use of BTX injections (less than a year after onset of symptoms) vs. late use of BTX injections did not influence effectiveness.


BTX seems to be an effective treatment for focal spasticity and for reducing disability in persons with SCI. Randomized trials are needed to confirm the value of this treatment in the setting of SCI.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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