Botulinum toxin, or BOTOX, has been found to be an excellent treatment for facial scars resulting from skin cancer. It can be used intraoperatively right after the excision of the tumour and closure of the wound, to improve the appearance of scars in the future, or to treat scars that are already established.
The dermatologic surgeon behind the finding, Dr. Yelena Frankel, has also suggested that positive effects on scarring may also be obtained for other surgeries, namely those that are performed for cosmetic purposes in specific areas of the face, such as on the forehead, in the lower face and around the eyes (blepharoplasty). Doing so can reduce the instance of hypertrophic scarring. BOTOX works in part by allowing the wound to heal in the time following surgery, during which remodelling of the skin and maturation of collagen can take place without being disturbed by the tension of muscular contraction.
Many doctors and surgeons know the positive impact that BOTOX has on scarring, and are already administering injections intraoperatively, even though the indication has not been approved by the FDA or Health Canada.
However, Dr. Frankel is not the first doctor who has found BOTOX to be an effective form of scar treatment. The publication, Dermatologic Surgery, published a study back in 2009 showing that when performed intraoperatively after Mohs micrographic surgery for the treatment of skin cancer, BOTOX was found to have an impressive effect on wounds without serious adverse side effects, particularly relating to the edges and overlying soft tissue.