One of my favourite treatments to perform is jawline slimming or masseter reduction.
I see many people who present with hypertrophic masseter muscles. For many large jaw muscles are just part of their normal anatomy however others have problems with excessive teeth grinding or clenching, known as bruxism. With overuse from habitual teeth grinding the masseter muscles become larger and over developed. Over time this alters the shape of the lower face, creating a square jaw line.
In addition to the aesthetic reasons behind treating the masseter muscles, many people with bruxism also suffer from pain and discomfort which has previously only been treated with special splints and physiotherapy.
Masseter reduction or jawline slimming for cosmetic purposes is a simple and effective procedure which is why it is so popular. This procedure involves the injection of wrinkle relaxers into the large masseter muscles to create a slim and more feminine jawline.
The simple procedure of injecting wrinkle relaxers into these bulky muscles is extremely effective in relaxing (not paralysing) the muscle resulting in a softer and smaller appearance of the masseters and eventual atrophy (or shinkage) over time.
The treatment can transform your face completely; many people go from having a square and masculine jaw to a narrow and oval face in a matter of weeks.
What are the masseters?
The masseters are two bulky muscles on each side of the angle of your jaw. They serve as muscles of mastication, which means they help you chew. A common concern with treatment of these muscles with muscle relaxants is that the muscle will freeze and you won’t be able to chew your food. Given the large size of the muscle and the use of other smaller muscles of mastication, chewing is not affected by this treatment, although some people may report feeling a bit ‘funny’ chewing tough foods like steak immediately following treatment.
What does the procedure involve?
Wrinkle relaxers are injected into the masseters on each side of the face and spread out at multiple points within the muscle to produce jaw reduction results. The amount of wrinkle relaxer used does vary but in general much larger amounts are needed when compared with treatment of wrinkles. Often a repeat treatment will need to be performed 4-8 weeks later to ensure the best results with followup in 6 months.
Over time as the muscle atrophies less muscle relaxant is needed with longer periods between treatments. The results improve significantly over the first year of treatment.
The procedure is highly effective, with minimal or no pain and absolutely no downtime at all. Face slimming and jaw reduction effect is seen at any time between 2 to 8 weeks.
*photographs are not my own
Treating Dr Kate
I have always had a square shaped jaw but it has never really bothered me as my face has always been in proportion. However it was after seeing a photograph taken at a party a few months ago that I realised that things had changed. In the photo my face appeared widened at the bottom and the right side looked like it was 'bulging' out, I looked odd. Compared to photos taken a few years before something had certainly happened and I had lost that symmetry in my face. NOOOO.
I have never suffered from bruxism (teeth grinding) however I now look back and see that the last 12-18 months have contributed to the bulking and hypertrophy of my masseter muscles. I think this was due to the high levels of stress and anxiety I was facing (studying and sitting my GP fellowship examinations, not fun). When I am stressed I clench my jaw and people have also commented that I do it while I am concentrating.
So what could I do? Stop stressing? yes that was possible. Stop concentrating? I wish. I opted for the easy option and called one of the trainers in cosmetic injectables to come and inject my masseters. I opted for a smaller dose first, more of a experiment to see the results on myself so I could tell patients and help guide my own practice. And WOW was I impressed. Not only is the procedure relatively pain free (just a strange pressure like sensation) I had no side effects except for a small bruise and have continued to eat my food as normal. It is now three weeks following my treatment and I have already noticed my face shape changing. My masseter muscles feel less bulky and hard and I can see the difference in photographs (clenching my teeth is harder too). Have a look at the photos to see for yourself, the results is very subtle so far as it will take up to 8 weeks for the final results. I can't wait for my next treatment.
Dr Kate x