Botulinum toxin A for hyperkinetic facial lines: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1994 Jul;94(1):94-9. doi: 10.1097/00006534-199407000-00009.


Previous work on patients with muscular dystonia has shown that small intramuscular doses of botulinum toxin A eliminated hyperkinetic facial lines for approximately 6 months. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of botulinum toxin A injections in eliminating facial wrinkles in aesthetic surgery patients who do not have muscular dystonia. Eleven healthy subjects were studied in a double-blind fashion. On both sides of the face, 0.2 cc of either normal saline or botulinum toxin A was injected into the forehead or into the periorbital wrinkles (crow's feet). Documentation of results was made by photographs taken of the patients during repose and during facial animation before and after injection. Assessment of facial wrinkles was done from a grading system in which the patient and the facial plastic surgeon were asked to judge the severity of the wrinkles on a scale from 0 to 3, with 0 reflecting no facial wrinkles and 3 reflecting severe facial wrinkling. Nine of 11 subjects injected with botulinum toxin A noted a significant improvement in the severity of their facial wrinkles in comparison with the side of the face injected with saline, with a rating improvement of 2 points. Two of 11 subjects noted a moderate improvement, with a rating improvement of 1 point. No patient injected with saline reported an improvement in the severity of the facial wrinkles on the control side. There were no serious complications. Botulinum toxin A is an efficacious method of nonsurgically eliminating facial wrinkles and may play a role in the cosmetic enhancement of the aging face.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Botulinum Toxins / administration & dosage
  • Botulinum Toxins / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Facial Dermatoses / therapy*
  • Facial Muscles / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Skin Aging*
  • Sodium Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Sodium Chloride / therapeutic use


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Botulinum Toxins