Botulinum Toxin Clinic

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is home to doctors with specialized training in the use of botulinum toxin for treatment of children with movement disorders. We are one of just a few programs on the West Coast offering this treatment. Our team has expertise that allows for precise administration of the therapy that provides much-needed relief from spasticity and dystonia with minimal to no side effects.

Botulinum Toxin Clinic for Spasticity and Dystonia: Why Choose Us

Children’s Hospital delivers comprehensive care for movement disorders in children. Our multidisciplinary Movement Disorders Clinic uses leading therapies, including botulinum toxin injections, and a team approach to maximize your child’s quality of life.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Expertise: Our pediatric Movement Disorders Clinic is among the best in the nation. Your child benefits from the recommendations of leading pediatric neurologists who specialize in these complex disorders. This level of care helps your child achieve the best possible results.
  • Comprehensive care: Botulinum toxin injections can be part of a personalized care plan that may also include oral medications and rehabilitative therapies. Children with difficult-to-treat spasticity may benefit from more aggressive treatment options, such as surgery. Find out more about Movement Disorder Treatments for Children.
  • Support: Living with movement disorders can bring unexpected challenges for your child and family. Children’s Hospital is here for you with a broad range of support services. Child Life specialists use age-appropriate techniques to make care appointments less worrisome. Licensed clinical social workers connect families in need with helpful resources.

More Information About Botulinum Toxin Injections for Pediatric Movement Disorders

Botulinum toxin is a chemical produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. When used for medical treatment, botulinum toxin has been shown in numerous studies to be safe in children at certain weight-based doses. When injected into a muscle, botulinum toxin decreases muscle tightening and contracting.

Benefits of Botulinum Toxin Therapy for Movement Disorders in Children

The effects of botulinum toxin typically last 2-4 months, or even longer in some children. Some potential benefits include:

  • Relief from pain and muscle spasms
  • Better joint positioning, making it easier to wear orthotics and safely secure someone in a wheelchair or other assistive device
  • Increased stability, enabling your child to feel steadier while walking
  • Improved range of motion, making it easier to perform daily activities

 What to expect during your Botulinum Toxin Clinic visit

The movement disorders specialist will have already determined which muscles need injecting during the Movement Disorders Clinic assessment. Here’s what to expect during your child’s Botulinum Toxin Clinic visit:

  • The injection site(s) are cleaned with isopropyl alcohol.
  • A shot blocker or topical anesthetic is used for pain control.
  • A small device is used to listen to the muscles being injected (electromyography). This ensures the right muscle is being injected and helps select exactly where to inject the medication.
  • The smallest possible needle is used to give the injections. Each selected muscle needs at least two injections. and most children receive multiple injections in one visit.

After the injection:

  • Your child goes home that same day.
  • Your child may have a bruise or feel muscle soreness or pain near the injection site for a day or two.
  • Occasionally there may be flu-like symptoms.
  • Response to botulinum toxin may take one to two weeks.
  • Children should have a follow-up visit one month after receiving botulinum toxin treatment to assess their response.
  • Typically, children need to return every three months to repeat their injections.

Ongoing Care in Our Botulinum Toxin Clinic

We develop lasting relationships with patients and their families, making it easier to manage your child’s ongoing care needs.

Your child will need to return to the Botulinum Toxin Clinic:

  • One month after injections to assess response to treatment.
  • Every three months for additional injections. This may include injections in new areas if symptoms are affecting other parts of the body.

Additional Options for Spasticity

Children with severe spasticity may also benefit from baclofen pump therapy. This option uses an implantable pump to deliver continuous baclofen medication directly to the spinal cord. Find out more about our Baclofen Pump Clinic.