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Ann Plast Surg. 2009 Oct;63(4):449-56. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e31818d4559.

The effect of the Botulinum toxin-A on craniofacial development: an experimental study.

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  • 1Department of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Zonguldak, Turkey.


In this study, we developed a novel experimental model to evaluate muscular action on bone formation and remodeling by the help of Botulinum toxin-A (BTX). Forty-nine 15-day-old male Wistar rats were put into 4 groups randomly. Group 1 was the control group. BTX 0.4 IU (0.05 mL) was injected into the right masseter muscle in group 2 and into right temporalis muscle in group 3. The same volume of sterile saline was given into the both above-mentioned muscles in group 4. At the end of the fourth month, all animals were killed. Histology and weight of the masseter and temporalis muscles were studied. Thirty different osteometric measurements were also taken from skulls. Significant atrophy in BTX injected muscles was observed in groups 2 and 3. In group 4 (saline injection), only few osteometric measurements were significantly reduced, indicating the effect of the injection itself. Both groups 2 and 3 have apparent decrease in nasal bone, premaxilla, maxilla, and zygomatic dimensions on the injected side. When masseter group was compared with control and saline groups, no significant difference was found in skull base dimensions and mandibular length. In contrast, temporal group has also shown significant decrease in skull base dimensions. Our conclusions are as follows: (1) With this model, it is possible to study muscular action on bone formation and modeling without any surgical intervention, that is, by avoiding surgical artifacts, such as scar and contracture; (2) denervation of the skeletal muscles with BTX during the growing phase does effect bone development in a negative way; (3) pediatric use of the BTX deserves reevaluation under the light of these findings.

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