Optimisation of botulinum toxin type a treatment for the management of Raynaud's phenomenon using a dorsal approach: a prospective case series

Kiran Dhaliwal, Michelle F Griffin, Sebastian Salinas, Kevin Howell, Christopher P Denton, Peter E M Butler
Clinical Rheumatology 2019, 38 (12): 3669-3676

INTRODUCTION: Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) is a common condition and causes pain, paraesthesia, ulceration and gangrene. Botulinum toxin A (Btx-A) is effective when injected via a digital palmar approach, in the treatment of severe RP. However, hand weakness resulting from lumbrical malfunction is a recognized complication. This study aimed to determine the effect of Btx-A injected via a dorsal approach.

METHOD: Forty patients received 100 units of Btx-A, injected across both hands via a dorsal approach. Each patient had a baseline, 6- and 12-week hand assessment and thermographic image (FLIR E60bx) performed for the study.

RESULTS: Eighty-eight percent of patients reported an improvement in symptoms including reduction in pain, improved colour change with reduced swelling and edema at 6 weeks. Of these patients, 80% reported an improvement in cold intolerance with a reduction in the frequency and severity of Raynaud's attacks. There was a significant improvement in both the DASH score (p = 0.001), Kapandji score (p = 0.001) and hand strength (p < 0.05). No patients reported weakness. Improvements in hand function and symptoms of RP were still evident at 12 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS: Btx-A injected via a dorsal approach improves symptoms and reduces the number of RP. We have shown an effective non-surgical approach technique to treat RP.Key Points• Raynaud's phenomenon is a common vasospastic disorder of the digital vessels, which can cause severe pain, restrictions to hand function and ulceration.• Dorsal botulinum toxin type A injections can improve the symptoms of secondary Raynaud's phenomenon and hand function for approximately 3 months.

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