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BACKGROUND Patients often complain of pain and bruising from needle injections. Some clinicians believe smaller gauge needles cause less pain. Thirty-gauge needles are currently the standard needles employed for administering botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A).

OBJECTIVE This study sought to determine whether patients receiving BTX-A have a preference for 30-gauge or 32-gauge needles based on the amount of pain and bruising experienced.

METHODS Thirty-seven subjects received BTX-A on the right side of the face using a 30-gauge needle and on the left side using a 32-gauge needle. Subjects were masked to needle size. They were then asked to rate injection pain on an 11-point numerical rating scale and to note any bruising. Physician preference was also evaluated.

RESULTS There were no statistically significant differences in the amount of intra-procedural pain (p=.37) or the level of post-procedural pain and discomfort (p=.76) experienced. Twenty-seven percent of subjects reported greater bruising with the 32-gauge needle, versus 29.7% with the 30-gauge needle. The physician injector did not have a preference. Lastly, 83.8% of subjects did not detect a difference in BTX-A paralysis effect.

CONCLUSION We do not recommend using 32-gauge needles in place of 30-gauge needles for administering BTX-A.

The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.