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Botox and Asian jawbone reduction: Don't count on it

According to a recent article in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, Drs. Chang, Bergeron, Yu, Chen, and Chen from Taiwan dispel a widely-circulating myth about Botox ® (botulinum toxin type A, brand of Allergan) and non-surgical Asian jaw reductio.

Many physicians, the authors state, claim that Botox injections for jawline reduction do not only cause paralysis and shrinkage of the cheek's masseter muscle but also of the underlying bone of the mandible. The imagined mechanism is somehow related to a decreased pull of the weakened muscle against the bone supposedly changing the bone's shape.

jawline reduction anatomy

Not so shows this study of ten female patients followed for three months after undergoiing Botox injections to recontour a square face. Before and after three-dimensional CT scans failed to show any change in mandibular bone thickness or volume.

In other words, if a square jaw is caused fully or even in part by wide flaring of the mandible, effective treatment will still need to incorporate surgery on the bone. As the authors state, "The current theory of mandibular flaring resolution after partial muscle paralysis is not supported by our findings."

APSG Comment: Claims regarding the effectiveness of Botox treatments have always been exaggerated and sometimes wildly so, but this one has to be right up there near the top of the list. A neurotoxin that weakens nerves and muscle could hardly be expected to reshape major bony landmarks. While this almost seems a matter of common sense, it's nice to have a real study in hand to counter such deceptive marketing.

Of course, one could always counter that any effect of Botox on the bone takes longer than three months to make its appearance, but don't count on it making any difference.

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Botox and Asian jaw reduction