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Minimising Pain in Cosmetic Treatments

A study has looked at the different degrees of pain experienced by patients receiving injectable non-invasive cosmetic treatments to the face. Botulinum toxin (or Botox) and soft-tissue filler (STF) have become the two most frequently performed non-surgical cosmetic facial treatments in the US. Patients are most satisfied when the outcome looks good and is relatively pain free; however, patients undergoing these treatments regularly complain of injections to one side of the face being more painful than the other.

A study was performed by five aesthetic medicine training institutes in the Netherlands. More than 300 adults were administered either Botox or STF and asked about their pain experience.

The results showed that patients complained more frequently about pain on the left side of their face following treatment. Right-handed patients felt more pain than left-handed patients and STF treatments were perceived as more painful than Botox.

Further, Botox treatments performed with a smaller diameter needle were associated with less pain, and women perceived Botox and STF procedures as more painful than men did.

Results from neuroimaging studies indicate that pain processing is mostly found in the right hemisphere of the brain, and more specifically the right cortex. Other studies have noted that patients perceive greater pain when their left hand is immersed in hot or cold water, and women have a lower pain threshold than men.

This study concluded that to lessen pain and discomfort during the administration of Botox and STF, patients should be treated on the left side of their face first and with a high-G (small diameter) needle, if possible.

Suttin, J. (May 23, 2017). Minimizing Pain in Facial Cosmetic Treatments. Medical News Bulletin.

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