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   Table of Contents     
REVIEW ARTICLE  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 101-107
Microdroplet botulinum toxin: A review


1 Dr. Kandhari’s Skin and Dental Clinic, Delhi, India
2 Department of Dermatology, North Delhi Municipal Corporation Medical College and Hindu Rao Hospital, Delhi, India
3 Dermatology Clinic, Delhi, India
4 Department of Dermatology, University of Aalborg, Aalborg, Denmark

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Date of Web Publication21-Jul-2022
 

   Abstract 

Microbotox is the administration of multiple microdroplets of botulinum toxin in intradermal plane. It is increasingly becoming popular owing to its more favorable outcome and better safety profile than the conventional technique. The intention is to treat fine lines and wrinkles without imparting an undesired “frozen face like” appearance. Besides facial rejuvenation, it has found its way into the management of other indications such as rosacea, hyperhidrosis, keloid, and seborrhea. Being a relatively newer method, knowledge about the various dilution methods, desired volume, and correct depth of injection involved in this technique remain scarce. In this article, the authors have highlighted various indications, procedures, adverse effects, and contraindications of microbotox.

Keywords: Botulinum toxin, facelift, facial wrinkles, mesobotox, microbotox, microdroplet technique

How to cite this article:
Kandhari R, Kaur I, Gupta J, Al-Niaimi F. Microdroplet botulinum toxin: A review. J Cutan Aesthet Surg 2022;15:101-7

How to cite this URL:
Kandhari R, Kaur I, Gupta J, Al-Niaimi F. Microdroplet botulinum toxin: A review. J Cutan Aesthet Surg [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 11];15:101-7. Available from: https://www.jcasonline.com/text.asp?2022/15/2/101/351499





   Introduction Top


“Microbotox,” “mesobotox,” or the “microdroplet technique” has become a common off-label use of botulinum toxin type A (BoNT) over the past 2 decades. The original technique involved administration of uniformly placed, intradermal, microdroplets of onabotulinumtoxin type A (ONA) (Botox; Allergan Inc., Westport, Ireland) in lower concentrations compared with the traditional technique.[1],[2] Although the initial use of the technique involved ONA, other types of BoNT have since been used.[3]

The aim is to provide relaxation of fine lines and wrinkles, without the undesired “frozen” or “plastic” appearance. Besides facial rejuvenation, the technique has been used for hyperhidrosis, seborrhoea, and keloids.[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9]


   Mechanism of Action Top


Although microdroplet BoNT acts by the same mechanism as conventional BoNT,[2],[10] the depth of injection and the resultant intensity of muscle weakness varies. [Figure 1] compares traditional BoNT and the microdroplet technique. The varying mechanisms are below.
Figure 1: (a) Traditional technique of administration of botulinum toxin into the deeper fibers of the muscle. (b) Microdroplet technique showing administration of neurotoxin in intradermal plane, into the superficial muscle fibers thus sparing the deeper muscle fibers.

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Action on superficial muscle fibers

Microdroplet BoNT acts on the superficial fibers of facial muscles, attached to the lower dermis. The higher dilution and low-concentration inhibit the “pulling” effects of the superficial fibers, and preserves the function of the deep muscle fibers, imparting a rested appearance to the face.[11],[12]

Decrease in sweat and sebum production

Microdroplet BoNT has the potential to induce reversible atrophy of the sweat and sebaceous glands, thereby, improving skin texture, and luster.[4],[10],[11],[13]

Neurochemical blockade of acetylcholine from the cholinergic neurons innervating the sweat glands and smooth muscle is responsible for decreased sweat production. The action on sebaceous glands is unclear since they are regulated via androgen-mediated neurons. It is postulated that inhibition of parasympathetic response of sebaceous glands and erector pili muscles, results in a heightened sympathetic response responsible for the reduction of facial pores.[14],[15]

Fluid retention

Microdroplet BoNT causes relaxation of muscles guarding lymphatic channels and an increased osmolarity in the dermis, leading to fluid retention in the compact dermis.[16] This effect makes the face appear luminous, and usually lasts for 3 months.[1] The multiple needle pricks, relaxed depressor muscles, volume effect, and fibroblast contraction demonstrates a mini “facelift” feel.[16]


   Procedure Top


Dilution

Microdroplet BoNT using ONA is prepared by using 1:5 dilutions, which is 100 U in 5 mL of solution. Dilutions of 1:10 have also been used resulting in 10 U of neurotoxin per mL or four markings of a standard 40 U insulin syringe corresponding to 1 unit of ONA. One may use 1–5 such syringes depending on the indication being addressed.

Alternatively, a standard dilution of ONA (2.5 mL saline to 100 U) may be further diluted, according to the area being addressed, for example, 24 U (0.6 mL in a 40 U insulin syringe, topped up with saline) providing 24 U in 1 mL solution while treating the forehead, similarly 8–12 U for the under-eye area and 24 U for the neck and jawline.[1]

Recent data have shown the safety and efficacy of microdroplet abobotulinumtoxin (ABO, Dysport) in facial lift.[17],[18] Sapra et al., reported a comparable improvement in skin texture, wrinkles, and midface lift, with microdroplet ABO (300 U in 6 mL saline) and ONA (100 U in 5 mL saline).[3]In vitro comparison between varying BoNT A preparations reveal that product selection and dilution are crucial for facial lifting [Table 1].[19]
Table 1: Various dilution techniques for microbotox

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Injection technique and dosing

The technique is carried out post-topical anesthesia using a 30–32 G needle, advanced gradually, with bevel pointed downward and almost parallel to the skin. Gentle pressure is applied to the plunger, sufficient enough to raise a small bleb.[20] Resistance on the plunger suggests an intradermal delivery, while an easy flow denotes an incorrect, deep placement of solution.

A 0.05 mL of solution is injected at 1 cm intervals, intradermally, in a uniform, grid-like fashion.[2],[10] One must remove air bubbles from the syringe before injecting to achieve accuracy and prevent wastage.

Alternatively, automatic injectors can be less time-consuming and may provide better accuracy and reduced wastage.[17]


   Indications Top


Microdroplet BoNT is used for varying indications [Table 2].[2],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10]
Table 2: Indications of microdroplet BoNT

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Upper face treatment

Global recommendations demonstrate an evolving trend suggesting the use of microdroplet BoNT for the upper face.[18] The technique is useful in women desiring an eyebrow lift and prevents an akinetic forehead [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Combination of microdroplet BoNT with traditional botulinum toxin for brow lift.

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The dosing protocol for the upper face has been depicted in [Table 3].
Table 3: Region wise onabotulinum toxin A administration

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Midface treatment

The mid-face and under-eye region should be addressed by experienced injectors, as inaccurate placement of the solution and large droplet size may lead to diffusion to deeper muscle fibers and undesirable effects [Figure 3]a and b.[20] For the undereye region],[ a minimal dose of 8–12 U of ONA in 1 mL solution has been suggested to prevent an inanimate lower lid; however],[ for the cheeks and nose 20 U in 1 mL saline maybe used [Figure 4].
Figure 3: (a) Microdroplet technique for mid-facelift, administered in a grid pattern, with injection points 0.5–1 cm apart. (b) Alternative technique for mid-facelift with injection points in two rows over the frontalis, two rows at the temples along the hairline, lateral orbicularis oculi, pre auricular at the level of the tragus and along the mandibular line at 1 cm intervals.

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Figure 4: Mid facelift demonstrating a rested appearance with microbotox technique, 20 U ONA in 1 mL of solution (right).

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Differing techniques have demonstrated a mid-face lift],[ using up to 50 U/side of ONA],[ 100–180 U/side of ABO],[ or 30 U/side of incobotulinum toxin A (INCO) [Table 3].[3],[18],[20],[21],[22]

Lower face and neck treatment

The relaxation of the lower face depressors and superficial fibers of platysma creates a defined cervicomental angle and sharper jawline, imparting a “mini neck lift.”[1] The boundaries for the injection in the lower face and neck have been illustrated in [Figure 5].
Figure 5: Target zone for lower face and neck lift with microdroplet technique.

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In the authors’ experience, microdroplet technique is more beneficial when combined with conventional BoNT for the lower face and neck. Although conventional BoNT debulks the masseter and relaxes the platysmal bands, the microdroplet technique provides tightness to the skin on the neck, especially in patients with fine horizontal necklines and “crepe-like skin” as shown in [Figure 6].
Figure 6: (a) “Crepe-like” skin on the neck, (b) neck lift with microdroplet technique demonstrating improvement post-administration of 42 U of ONA.

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Furthermore, energy-based devices may be combined for optimizing outcomes. 28 U of BoNT in 1-mL solution is used (1–3 syringes) up to the platysmal fibers attached to the masseter. The dilution may vary in patients with thin necks (20 U/mL) and visibly thicker necks (28 U/mL).[2],[10],[23] ABO has been used in dilution of 1:7. Depending on the neck size, 2–3 syringes each containing 70 U may be used [Table 3].

Dilated pores and rosacea

Microdroplet BoNT has the potential to decrease sweat and sebaceous gland activity.[14]

Treatment for dilated pores may be combined with fractional technology for optimal outcomes. A single session improves the dilated pores albeit for a short duration, requiring repetition in 3–4 months.

Microdroplet technique with hyaluronic acid

When microdroplet BoNT is delivered with microhyaluronic acid (microHA) known as hydrotoxin, the procedure is twice as effective than monotherapy.[16] Improvement in skin roughness and hydration is noticeable in 5–7 days and 1–2 weeks respectively. In most cases, the results of a single treatment session last for 6 months.[17]

The technique has been used with 2 mL of stabilized HA (Neuramis Light, Medytox, Korea) mixed with 1 mL of 40 U ONA delivered via an injector (Neurajet, Medytox, Korea).[16]

Alternatively, 1 mL of monophasic HA (Belotero Balance, Merz Pharmaceuticals) with 40 U of INCO has been used with similar results.[14]

Microdroplet BoNT for keloids

The role of BoNT in keloids is inconclusive and needs larger studies. A triple therapy combining intense pulsed light (IPL), intralesional triamcinolone, and microbotox has shown success. Following IPL therapy, microbotox is injected into the keloid and the surrounding skin, followed by intralesional triamcinolone.[7] Besides, a synergistic effect with triamcinolone and reducing the dose and adverse effects of triamcinolone, microbotox also reduces the overall risk and intensity of recurrence[7] [Figure 7]. It appears that BoNT decreases the muscular tension in a healing wound, inhibits the growth of fibroblasts, and alters the production of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1.[24]
Figure 7: (a) Post-burn keloid on the neck (left), (b) Significant softening and improvement in range of motion with single session of 24 U in 1 mL solution of medytox combined with intralesional triamcinolone acetonide (40 mg/mL).

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   Contraindications Top


Despite lower dose and volume, the microdroplet technique may have the following contraindications [Table 3].


   Adverse Effects Top


Delivering microdroplets consistently and superficially avoids complications.[14] Inadvertent diffusion to the deeper muscle fibers, due to subdermal injection or delivery of larger volume results in total or partial paralysis.[21] Due to a lower neurotoxin concentration, these complications are temporary and usually subside within 2–3 weeks.[10]

  • (a)Stiff immovable brow – due to inadvertent diffusion into the deep fibers of the frontalis.


  • (b)Weakness in neck movement – due to diffusion into the sternocleidomastoid muscle.


  • (c)Asymmetric smile and lower face atrophy – due to diffusion into the depressor anguli oris, risorius, or depressor labii inferioris in the lower face or intermingling fibers of the platysma.[14]


  • (d)Festooning or “inanimate lower eyelid” – due to diffusion into the orbicularis oculi particularly in patients with pre-existing skin laxity. Be judicious in patients with a sluggish “snap test.”


The technique demonstrates a short duration of action warranting frequent sessions. Few patients may find the treatment uncomfortable due to multiple injection points.


   Conclusion Top


Microdroplet technique can be considered a simple, relatively safe, and effective treatment used for facial and neck rejuvenation. Its ability to preserve muscle movement and provide “natural looking” results makes it a desirable option. Currently, large-scale studies and data on defined protocols are scarce. Authors suggest that while the technique should be used judiciously until proper guidelines are available, it is important to be aware of this evolving technology and its benefits.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form, the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Wu WTL Microbotox of the lower face and neck: Evolution of a personal technique and its clinical effects. Plast Reconstr Surg 2015;136:92S-100S.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Wu WTL Facial rejuvenation without facelifts – personal strategies. Regional Conference in Dermotological Laser and Facial Cosmetic Surgery 2002. Hong Kong; 2002.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Sapra P, Demay S, Sapra S, Khanna J, Mraud K, Bonadonna J A single-blind, split-face, randomized, pilot study comparing the effects of intradermal and intramuscular injection of two commercially available botulinum toxin A formulas to reduce signs of facial aging. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol 2017;10:34-44.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Rose AE, Goldberg DJ Safety and efficacy of intradermal injection of botulinum toxin for the treatment of oily skin. Dermatol Surg 2013;39:443-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Trindade de Almeida AR, Marques E, de Almeida J, de Almeida J, Cunha T, Boraso R Pilot study comparing the diffusion of two formulations of botulinum toxin type A in patients with forehead hyperhidrosis. Dermatol Surg 2007;33:S37-43.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Glogau RG Botulinum A neurotoxin for axillary hyperhidrosis. No sweat botox. Dermatol Surg 1998;24:817-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Wu WTL Skin resurfacing with microbotox and the treatment of keloids. In: Benedetto AV, editor. Botulinum Toxins in Clinical Aesthetic Practice. 2nd ed. New York: Informa Healthcare; 2011. pp. 190-205.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Borodic GE, Joseph M, Fay L, Cozzolino D, Ferrante RJ Botulinum A toxin for the treatment of spasmodic torticollis: Dysphagia and regional toxin spread. Head Neck 1990;12:392-9.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Wu WTL Facial sculpting and facial slimming with neurotoxins. In: Sundine M, Connell B, editors. Aesthetic Rejuvenation of the Face. 1st ed. Stuttgart, Germany: Thieme Publishers; 2015. pp. 39-4.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Tamura B In Botulinum Toxins, Fillers and Related Substances, Clinical Approaches and Procedures in Cosmetic Dermatology. 4th ed. Springer International Publishing; 2019. Microbotox, Mesobotox, Botulinum Toxin Microdroplets. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20253-2.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Shah AR Use of intradermal botulinum toxin to reduce sebum production and facial pore size. J Drugs Dermatol 2008;7:847-50.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Liew S Ethnic and gender considerations in the use of facial injectables: Asian patients. Plast Reconstr Surg 2015;136:22-7S.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Li ZJ, Park SB, Sohn KC, Lee Y, Seo YJ, Kim CD, et al. Regulation of lipid production by acetylcholine signalling in human sebaceous glands. J Dermatol Sci 2013;72:116-22.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Ahmed El Attar Y, Nofal A Microbotox for the treatment of wide facial pores: A promising therapeutic approach. J Cosmet Dermatol 2021;20:1361-6.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Jabbour S, Kechichian E, Awaida C, Nasr M Updates in the treatment of the lower face and neck with botulinum toxin injections. Aesthet Surg J 2019;39:NP93-4.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Ozdemir M, Bodur S, Engin B, Baysal I Evaluation of application of multiple needle pricks on the pathergy reaction. Int J Dermatol 2008;47:335-8.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Kim J Clinical effects on skin texture and hydration of the face using microbotox and microhyaluronicacid. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open 2018;6:e1935.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Sundaram H, Liew S, Signorini M, Vieira Braz A, Fagien S, Swift A, et al; Global Aesthetics Consensus Group. Global aesthetics consensus: Hyaluronic acid fillers and botulinum toxin type A-recommendations for combined treatment and optimizing outcomes in diverse patient populations. Plast Reconstr Surg 2016;137:1410-23.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Wanitphakdeedecha R, Kaewkes A, Ungaksornpairote C, Limsaengurai S, Panich U, Manuskiatti W The effect of botulinum toxin type A in different dilution on the contraction of fibroblast-In vitro study. J Cosmet Dermatol 2019;18:1215-23.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.
Atwa EM, Nasr MM, Ebrahim HM Evaluation of intradermal injection of botulinum toxin A for facial lifting. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol 2020;13:22-6.  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.
Schlessinger J, Gilbert E, Cohen JL, Kaufman J New uses of abobotulinumtoxina in aesthetics. Aesthet Surg J 2017;37:45-58.  Back to cited text no. 21
    
22.
Wanitphakdeedecha R, Nokdhes YN, Patthamalai P, Yan C, Techapichetvanich T, Phothong W, et al; Intradermal injection of incobotulinum toxin A for face lifting. Dermatologic Ther 2020;33:e13944.  Back to cited text no. 22
    
23.
Awaida CJ, Jabbour SF, Rayess YA, El Khoury JS, Kechichian EG, Nasr MW Evaluation of the microbotox technique: An algorithmic approach for lower face and neck rejuvenation and a crossover clinical trial. Plast Reconstr Surg 2018;142:640-9.  Back to cited text no. 23
    
24.
Sabry HH, Ibrahim EA, Hamed AM Assessment of laser-assisted delivery vs intralesional injection of botulinum toxin A in treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids. Dermatol Ther 2020;33:e13980.  Back to cited text no. 24
    

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Correspondence Address:
Ishmeet Kaur
Department of Dermatology, North Delhi Municipal Corporation Medical College and Hindu Rao Hospital, Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_162_21

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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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