Vibration Versus Ice to Reduce Cosmetic Botulinum Toxin Injection Pain—A Randomized Controlled Trial

Stephen R. Chorney, Jennifer A. Villwock, Amar C. Suryadevara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Botulinum toxin is the most commonly performed facial cosmetic procedure and pain at the injection site is a frequent patient concern. While various topical interventions have been described for analgesia, there have not been any studies comparing different techniques. We compared the use of a vibratory stimulus, ice pack application, and no intervention on injection site pain for cosmetic botulinum toxin injection. A prospective-, randomized-, individual-controlled study was conducted using a visual analog scale to assess pain. Patients received bilateral glabellar injections, with randomization into unilateral vibration, unilateral ice application, or vibration and ice on either side. We analyzed 88 injections on 22 patients. Mean visual analog scores were 26.5 (standard deviation [SD]: 23.1) among injections with vibration, 24.4 (SD: 22.9) with ice, and 29.4 (SD: 27.1) without analgesia. There was no significant difference in pain scale scores with the use of vibration, ice, or no topical anesthesia (P =.737). Further, pain scale scores did not differ significantly between medial and lateral injections nor did patients have a reduction in pain on either side of the forehead regardless of which method was used. While there may be a role for topical interventions to improve injection site analgesia, we maintain that consistently proper technique plays a greater role in improving patient tolerance. Future studies will continue to investigate the role of topical anesthesia in cosmetic facial injections and address patient-specific factors contributing to discomfort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-355
Number of pages5
JournalEar, Nose and Throat Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • botox
  • botulinum toxin
  • cosmetic
  • injection pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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