When undertaking any form of plastic or cosmetic surgery, it is critical to take into consideration each patient’s ethnicity. Different ethnic groups have different facial proportions and different cultural concepts of what constitutes ‘beauty’. A skilled plastic and craniofacial surgeon will take these into account and adapt surgical procedures accordingly. Often, patients of Asian ethnicity — such as Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and other Asian countries and regions — may seek out a jaw and chin narrowing procedure known as Asian V-Line surgery. Depending on their existing facial proportions, the patient may also need to reduce the size of their masseter muscle to reduce a prominent mandibular angle and jaw width to produce a narrower, slender and more feminine facial profile.
The masseter muscle runs down the cheekbone to the lower jaw on each side of the face. It is known as one of the “muscles of mastication” because it helps us to chew food and move our jaw up and down while speaking. The masseter is typically larger in people of Asian ethnicity due to natural genetic differences creating a wider face proportion. Typically Asian women, or Asian transgender individuals seeking facial feminization, want a softer, smoother appearance to the jawline, and therefore seek to reduce the size of the masseter muscle at the same time.
Reduction of the masseter muscle for those of Asian ethnicity may be performed by either non-surgical or surgical method…
The masseter muscle can be reduced significantly using non-surgical injectable treatments such as botulinum toxin — more commonly known as Botox® or Dysport®. The procedure is non-invasive because it involves a series injections placed directly into the masseter muscle. The treatment is performed over several sessions with small doses of botulinum toxin until the masseter muscle has reduced down by degrees to the desired appearance. The number of sessions will depend on the individual’s reaction to the treatment. Some people may only need 1-2 sessions, others may need 3-4 sessions to achieve the desired results. In most patients, the masseter muscle will stay reduced in size permanently – even without further injections.
For some Asian patients, non-surgical masseter muscle reduction will not have the desired effect, making a surgical reduction of the muscle their best option. The surgery is performed on the inside of the mouth between the gum and cheek via small incisions that leave no visible scarring. The jaw bone and masseter muscle are surgically reduced and reshaped to achieve a rounder, smoother, and more slender contour. When the correct amount of muscle and bone has been removed, the incision is closed with self-dissolving sutures.
Ultimately, an in-person consultation with your plastic surgeon will help you decide if a surgical or non-surgical option is the best course of action for you.