The masseter muscle runs through the rear part of the cheek, from the cheekbone down to the lower jaw on each side of the face. The muscle connects the mandible (lower jawbone) to the cheekbone and is known as one of the “muscles of mastication” because it works to raise and close the jaw while chewing.
The masseter can sometimes become enlarged in people who have a tendency to clench or grind their teeth (bruxism), or who chew gum excessively. This may result in an asymmetry of the face due to unequal enlargement and increased bulk of the muscle, potentially creating an overly-square jawline. Typically women, or those seeking facial feminization, prefer a softer, smoother appearance to the jawline, and therefore seek to reduce the size of the masseter.
Reduction of the masseter may be performed by either 1) surgical, or 2) non-surgical methods…
Surgery to access the masseter and the mandible (jawbone) is performed through incisions on the inside of the mouth, between the gum and cheek, leaving no visible scarring. Your surgeon then shapes and reduces the bone and masseter muscle to achieve a well-rounded, smoother and more streamlined jawline contour. Once the correct amount of bone and muscle has been removed, the incision is closed with self-dissolving sutures.
Injectable muscle relaxing agents such as Botox® or Dysport® work extremely well to non-surgically reduce the masseter muscle and also decrease habitual jaw clenching or teeth grinding (Bruxism). The procedure involves a series of injections of Botox® or Dysport® directly into the masseter muscle in small doses over several sessions until the desired appearance is achieved. Depending on the individual, the decreased size of the masseter may stay intact permanently – even without further injections.
If your medical provider is unqualified and either Botox® or Dysport® are not injected into the masseter muscle correctly, serious negative side effects may occur that may take months, or even years to resolve. Typically an unskilled provider may inject the Botox® or Dysport® into the wrong area, or too deep or too shallow into the muscle.