Therapeutic Treatments

Procedures & Operations

Botulinum Toxin (Botox)

Botulinum toxin (Botox) is one of the most potent drugs available to medical practitioners. It is used to paralyze muscles, preventing unwanted movement and providing relief from negative symptoms. Therapeutic Botox injections are used in ENT to treat symptoms stemming from a number of disorders, including Parkinson’s, ALS and strokes.


What is Dystonia And How Can It Be Treated

Dystonia is a medical term describing a range of movement disorders that cause involuntary spasms and contractions. The movements are often repetitive and take on unusual and awkward postures. They can also be painful.
Dystonia is thought to be a neurological condition (conditions that are caused by underlying problems with the brain and nervous system). However, brain functions such as intelligence, memory and language are unaffected in most cases.

Where dystonia is the only symptom it is referred to as primary dystonia. It is usually inherited, although most patients do not have a family history. It is caused by problems with the part of the brain that controls muscle movement.

Dystonia that occurs as a result of another illness or injury is referred to as secondary dystonia. It is a common outcome of brain injury, stroke, encephalitis or Parkinson’s disease.

While dystonia cannot be cured, there are treatments available to manage the symptoms. Injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) can be used to paralyse the muscles affected that are causing the unwanted movement. Such a procedure is virtually painless and can allow relief from the symptoms for a period. The treatment is not permanent and requires further injections every 6-8 months.


What is Dysphagia And How Can It Be Treated

Dysphagia is a medical term for difficulty with swallowing. Some people with dysphagia have problems swallowing certain foods or liquids, while others cannot swallow at all. Dysphagia can result from an injury or condition affecting the nervous system such as Parkinson’s disease or stroke or cancer affecting the mouth, neck or throat. It falls into two categories: oropharyngeal or ‘high’ dysphagia affecting the mouth or throat, and oesophageal or ‘low’ dysphagia affecting the oesophagus.

Dysphagia caused by Parkinson’s disease that affects the oesophagus can be treated using injections of botulinum toxin (Botox). This treatment paralyses the muscles which are preventing food being swallowed and can relieve symptoms for a period. The treatment is not permanent and requires follow-up injections on a regular basis.

Where an ongoing disease such as Parkinson’s causes difficulty swallowing, leading to a build-up of saliva, this can also be treated with injections of Botox into the salivary gland. This can relieve discomfort by reducing production of saliva. Mr Hawthorne is one of the few practitioners in the North East able to undertake such a procedure.

Botox injections are a straightforward procedure and can be carried out by Mr Hawthorne at his private clinics. The procedure is carried out during a standard consultation and requires no special preparation or aftercare.

What to expect following the procedure

Bruising around the injection site: you may experience some minor bruising around the site of the injection. This is harmless and is likely to resolve itself within a few days.

Muscular weakness: The muscles affected and those adjacent to the injection site may be weakened and unresponsive as a result of the injection. Where an injection has been made into facial muscle this may be more visible where the patient smiles. Most patients find such weakness easily tolerable and that it has little impact. The majority of weakness is transient and does not last more than 2-3 weeks.

Follow-up procedures: Botulinum toxin is used for therapeutic purposes because it does not have a permanent effect. The muscles recover and the effect of the toxin wears off over time, usually between three and six months after injection. This means that patients with ongoing conditions may require repeated injections. A course of treatment including multiple injections does not pose an increased risk of negative side-effects and many patients continue receiving Botox treatment for several years.

To view and/or download further information relating to this procedure, please go to the Patient Information Leaflets section of this website.