Botulinum to the masseter | What you need to know

-by board-certified plastic surgeon Ashley N. Amalfi, MD

Your facial contour is your first impression.  A sharp jawline can give a face the structure it needs and help you look strong and healthy.  And in the world of selfies and social media, we are spending more time analyzing our facial structure and improving our appearance.

Some of this is genetic.  Even in youth and at an ideal body weight, some faces never have the well-defined jaw they desire.  Others have a strong facial contour, but with age or weight changes, they begin to lose that chiseled look. 

So what does botulinum toxin do?

Botulinum toxin is used cosmetically to temporarily paralyze the facial muscles.  In the jaw, we can use neurotoxins in the masseter muscle.  This is one of many muscles that helps us chew, and you can feel its deep prominence along your jawline when you clench your teeth.  It is also a muscle that is sometimes tight in individuals who clench their jaw, or grind their teeth at night. 

Injections of botulinum to this area will act to weaken the masseter muscle. Functionally, this improves the pain that some people experience in their jaw and also alleviates uncomfortable night grinding.  From a cosmetic perspective, this will also work to slim the muscle and create a more narrow lower face and sleeker jaw appearance. It will take a face that is more rectangular in appearance and create a more heart-shaped or inverted triangle-type shape. 

What else can be done to treat this area?

There are a variety of non-invasive procedures we can offer to treat this part of the face.  Botulinum to the masseter muscle will slim the lower face and jaw.  Products such as dermal fillers can be used to build up the jaw bone and chin and create an even more chiseled and sculpted look. This can create very crisp angles to the jaw and chin if your native anatomy just isn’t as pronounced as you’d like it to be. These fillers are done deeply atop your bone and can last as long as 1 to 2 years.  Often multiple syringes are needed to achieve a desired look. 

If it’s a double chin in your selfies that is bothering you, addressing the excess fat in that area can also create a sleeker facial appearance.  Kybella (deoxycholic acid) is a product that can be injected into the fatty area of a double chin to literally melt away fat and improve the facial appearance. Sometimes multiple treatments are needed to achieve the desired results, but the effects are permanent. Additionally, submental liposuction is a one-time permanent option to remove excess fat from underneath the chin for a more defined profile.

What do I do next?

If you are interested in improving the appearance of your facial contour, meeting with a board-certified facial plastic or plastic surgeon is your first step to a chiseled jawline.  Your surgeon will perform a careful facial analysis and present you with non-invasive, as well as surgical, options to achieve your goal.  

If you are interested in learning more about jawline contouring with botulinum, call our office at 585.244.1000 to speak to a Patient Consultant.

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