Reduced jaw opening from paradoxical activity of mandibular elevator muscles treated with botulinum toxin

M Bakke, L M Werdelin, T Dalager, A Fuglsang-Frederiksen, S Prytz, E Møller

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The aim of the study was the effect of injections with botulinum toxin A (BTX-A) on reduced jaw opening, caused by paradoxical, antagonistic activity of jaw elevator muscles after brain stem lesions. The study included a male (51 years) and a female (69 years) patient. Subjective assessment, clinical recordings, muscle blocks and electromyography (EMG) were used to diagnose paradoxical activity, and to plan, guide and evaluate the treatment. The paradoxical innervation pattern was unilateral in the male and bilateral in the female. The paradoxical activity during jaw opening amounted to 24-109% of the level during maximum biting, and bursts of paradoxical activity were also present during chewing. EMG-guided blocks and later BTX-A injections of the affected muscles increased the opening by 9-23 mm from pre-treatment values of 15-18 mm, and normalized chewing. The study proved BTX-A to be an effective treatment for reduced jaw opening caused by paradoxical activity. Treatment was optimized by EMG evaluation of the current activity of the jaw elevator muscles, permitting individual treatment plans with longer intervals between BTX-A injections and lower doses than with conventional treatment for oromandibular dystonia. Thus the treatment only had to be repeated one to two times per year to maintain acceptable jaw mobility.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Pages (from-to)695-9
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003


  • Aged
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A/therapeutic use
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jaw Diseases/diagnosis
  • Male
  • Masticatory Muscles/physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement/physiology
  • Neuromuscular Agents/therapeutic use


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