Jaw shaving is common among women who feel that their lower jaws are too wide in proportion to the rest of their face. This procedure was pioneered in Asian countries for women seeking slimmer jawlines. Widened jawlines can be due to a number of factors: bone, fat, or a large jawbone muscle in area (hypertrophied masseter muscle). Jaw shaving applies to patients with broad jawbones, whereas jaw slimming with injection therapy can better target large jawbone muscles.

Jaw shaving is a specialized procedure that few surgeons are confident in performing, so many plastic surgery practices do not offer this procedure. Dr. Hsu has years of experience performing mandibular surgeries and so is able to offer this procedure to his patients.

Good candidates for this procedure:

  • Patients with a wide jawline due to a wide jawbone

What to expect: Consultation

All cosmetic consultations are complimentary and serve as a great opportunity to gain further insight by voicing your concerns and having questions answered. During the initial consultation, Dr. Hsu will ask some questions to get to know you and determine if you are a good candidate for jaw shaving.

During the consultation, Dr. Hsu will examine the jaw area and inspect it to determine what specifically is responsible for the widened appearance.  He will also ask about your medical history, including existing medical conditions, past surgeries, tobacco usage, daily medications, supplements, and allergies. If he determines that you are a good candidate for the procedure, Dr. Hsu will explain the next steps in going forth with the procedure. In order to reach your aesthetic goal, both you and Dr. Hsu will work together to decide all the necessary details that will ultimately give you the best results. 

Surgery Details:

On the day of surgery, arrive early to fill out paperwork, meet the anesthesiologist, and be prepared for surgery. Dr. Hsu will meet you in the pre-operative area before surgery to make markings on the areas planned for surgery and answer any last minute questions you may have.

The surgery itself lasts approximately two hours.  The incision is placed within the mouth so that there are no visible scars on the skin after surgery. After accessing the mandibular bone from this incision, Dr. Hsu will surgically slim the jawbone by shaving it and will close up the incision site with sutures, again leaving no visible scar.

Recovery & Post-operative Instructions:

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After the surgery, Dr. Hsu will wrap some dressings around your head for the first week to heal in an upward position. This operation involves slimming the bone, so the jaw is prone to swell more than in many other operations. It is therefore very important that you keep your head elevated at all times during your recovery period. An easy way to maintain the elevated position during rest is to sleep on two pillows at night. We also highly recommend wearing a handkerchief or shawl to cover the area so that you will be more comfortable going outside. For most patients, bruising and swelling has subsided substantially after a week, so they can cover any remaining bruises with concealer. During the recovery period, walking assists with healing and minimizing blood clots.

The surgical area should stay dry until Dr. Hsu indicates that it is permissible to shower.  In the meantime, to clean the rest of your body, you can bathe from the shoulders down. All stitches are dissolvable and are placed within the mouth, so there is no need to take out stitches after surgery. Swelling & bruising will peak about 48 hours after surgery but will gradually decrease in about two weeks. Most patients return to work after two weeks, but many return even sooner -- especially those who work from home. The biggest limitation for post-operative patients is driving, which should be avoided when on pain medication. Most patients are off their pain medication after about five days, so plan your work schedule accordingly. Six weeks post-operation, most patients can return to their normal routines including exercise and going back to the gym.

Dr. Hsu will be available 24 hours following the surgery to address any immediate concerns. He will continue to follow patient progress for an extended period of time to ensure the patient is healing well. Follow up appointments are scheduled immediately after surgery for up to a year.

Dr. Hsu's view on Jaw Shaving.

As opposed to jaw slimming, which is an injection-based procedure which helps to shrink the muscle mass that can make the jaw appear wide, jaw shaving is designed to address those cases in which the wide jaw is due to bone, and not to muscle.  In fact, most people who have wide appearing jaws usually have some bony element which is at least partially responsible for the wide appearance.  However, in many of these patients, the reduction in width achieved with an injection is sufficient.

In patients who don’t want to undergo multiple injections for the jaw slimming, jaw shaving accomplished through surgery can work very well.  This is a procedure that was initially pioneered in Asia and is now quite popular there.  I have not yet seen too many non-Asian patients requesting the procedure, but I think it’s mostly because they are not aware of it yet.  The biggest issue with this surgery is just that the initial swelling can be significant, so I will always tell patients to be prepared for that.  Bony surgery, especially around the jaw, tends to cause more swelling than for other procedures.  Fortunately, the swelling does go away and when it does, the results can significantly slim the contour of the lower face.