Use of botox for sialorrhea and dysphagia in the neonatal population

Nathan Lu, Nadine Haykal, Jennifer L. McCoy, Allison B.J. Tobey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Botox is frequently used for sialorrhea in patients with compromised airways and those with etiologies causing difficulty with secretion management (i.e. strokes, neurologic disorders, etc.). There are no published studies regarding the use of botulinum toxin (BoNT) in the neonate population. We aim to discuss our experience and safety of BoNT use in the neonate population in regards to alleviating secretion management and airway protection. Methods: Retrospective review of neonates admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) ≤12 months of age who received BoNT injection to submandibular (SMG) and parotid (PG) glands for sialorrhea/dysphagia. BoNT was administered under ultrasound (u/s) guidance by interventional radiology. Results: 6 children were examined. 2 (33 %) were male. Avg NICU stay was 87.5 ± 33.1 days. 2 underwent surgical airway intervention prior to injection. Mean age at initial BoNT was 1.5 ± 0.7 months. Avg weight at injection was 4 ± 1.1 kg. Each PG and SMG were injected in 5/6 cases. Bilateral SMG were unidentified on u/s in 1 case and thus not injected. Dose range injected per gland was 5-15u. 100 % required tube feeds, 50 % with tubes distal to stomach (NJT/NDT). 83 % were completely NPO prior to injection and there was no noted clinical improvement in oral skills post injection. All had noted desats/apneas prior to injection and 83 % had reported decreased events post injection. 50 % had reported decrease O2 requirements and frequent suctioning 2wks after injection, however 2 (33 %) required surgical airway intervention after injection (trach, SGP/MDO). 4/6 (67 %) trialed medical therapy, anticholinergics being the most common. 50 % underwent 2nd injection (age = 6.5 ± 0.3 months) avg. 4.7 ± 0.7mo after 1st injection, and the same 3pts underwent 3rd injection (age = 12.5 ± 2.4 months) avg. 6.1 ± 2.5mo after 2nd injection. 1 pt. had a total 6 injections. There were no injection related complications. Conclusion: BoNT injection is a safe, non-invasive alterative for management of sialorrhea in neonates. Further extensive study needs to be performed to identify the optimal dose per gland in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104210
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Botox
  • Dysphagia
  • Neonatal
  • Sialorrhea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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