Expert Doctor

Jaw Reduction

Jaw reduction is performed in order to modify or decrease the size of the jaw as well as create a more feminine taper on those who have a more masculine, square jawline. The surgery permanently narrows the outer portion of the jaw while making it appear more in proportion with the rest of the face. The procedure is popular among individuals whose facial features are impacted by an overly prominent jaw or lower third of the face. Surgeons often reshape the jawline of a person from a “U” shape to a “V” shape.

Am I a Good Candidate for Jaw Reduction?

Patients that are GOOD CANDIDATES for jaw reduction are:

  • A person who has a broad or square jawline and wants a more feminine profile
  • A patient with a chin that needs to be resized to gain a facial appearance that is more even due to the fact that the jaw is too wide or long
  • Patients with jaws that are facing too far forward
  • Transgender male-to-female patients, or someone with a very prominent jaw, who wants a more feminine contour
  • Patients in Asian countries who desire a more tapered lower facial profile
  • Those with a flat lower jawline

Patients that are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES for jaw reduction include:

  • People still in their teens as the jaw is still developing at this point
  • Someone who cannot take the necessary time off work in order to properly recover from the procedure
  • Anyone having the surgery to make someone else happy with their appearance

How is Jaw Reduction Performed?

The surgeon must consider the chin, the middle jaw and the angle of the jawline in the back when examining a patient.

In general, the surgeon makes an incision inside the mouth so there is no visible scarring. The doctor then burrs, or shaves, the bone in order to reduce the size of the chin as well as lower the projection of the chin. The incision will be closed with stitches.

As mentioned above, there are a number of methods available to effectively reduce the jaw:

The best way to treat a wide and flaring middle portion of the jaw is to make an incision from inside the mouth on the lower sulcus. That is the space between the tooth and the gum tissue surrounding the tooth. With an internal incision, the concern of scarring is negated. From there, the surgeon will access and shave the bone in order to create a tapered look.

For patients with an extremely big jaw, the surgeon may do a procedure which decreases the angle of the jaw. The mandible angle is the lower border of the jaw where it begins to move in an upward direction. With this method, the surgeon completely cuts the mandible angle out to create a more tapered appearance to the jaw.

The jaw has soft tissue components including the masseter muscle which is the muscle that encompasses the jaw. This muscle can be bulky and it is used for chewing as well as helping to close the jaw. The masseter muscle can be injected with Botox to paralyze the muscle and create a softer appearance to the jaw. 


Another option is to do liposuction under the chin. This is only an option if the patient has a lot of fat in that area which can be removed. CoolSculpting is a form of liposuction used to reduce soft tissue in the chin area and it can also be used to create a thinner jaw. 


An alternative method of jaw reduction is known as an osteotomy. This method involves the bone being cut, reshaped, resized and held in place with plates and screws.

Chin Reduction

In addition, jaw reduction surgery can be performed at the same time as chin reduction in patients that have chins that are extremely wide or long to help create a more balanced facial appearance.

What is the Cost of Jaw Reduction?

The cost of jaw reduction depends on the method used to perform the surgery, the extent of the work, the geographic location of the procedure and any fees charged by the doctor or facility. In general, the cost is $5500-$8500.

Recovery and Downtime

Jaw reduction via surgical methods has a necessary RECOVERY period. The jaw will be very swollen for about a week. The doctor will wrap some surgical dressings around the swollen jaw area to help with the healing process. Patients need to keep their heads elevated during the recovery period. The stitches used to close an incision will dissolve on their own.

Thanks to the large amount of swelling during the first week, patients can expect to experience some DOWNTIME for work and social activities.  Most patients can return to work the second week after the surgery. It takes about 5-6 weeks before they are allowed to resume all normal activities including going to the gym.


It takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks before the patient can begin to appreciate the results from the surgery. The final results will not be apparent until 6 to 9 months after the reduction procedure.

With Botox injections, the patient starts to see the results in about one week. The results will be mild but a slight decrease in fullness will be noticeable. Since Botox is only a temporary solution, the treatment will need to be repeated to maintain the results.

With liposuction, the patient will see some immediate results. However, swelling will obscure the results shortly after the procedure. For the first couple of weeks, the patient will look swollen and puffy. Swelling usually resolves approximately one month later and the jaw will appear thinner. Jaw reduction via liposuction can take about 3 months before the patient sees the final results.

Limitations of Jaw Reduction

Limitations of jaw reduction include:

  • Jaw reduction is limited by the fact that the procedure requires some level of craniofacial training. The surgery requires the use of special equipment, as well as the knowledge and ease of working with facial anatomy, so not every surgeon is qualified to perform jaw reduction.
  • With noninvasive procedures such as Botox, the surgeon is not able to accomplish as much because there is only so much soft tissue that can be altered by these methods.

Risks of Jaw Reduction

  • Risks involved with jaw reduction include:
  • Temporary or permanent damage to the nerve that travels through the jaw
  • Permanent numbness of the chin and the lower teeth leading to difficulty with speaking and chewing
  • Damaging the teeth, and tooth loss, if the surgeon operates too close to the teeth
  • Too much blood loss resulting in the need for a blood transfusion
  • Infections
  • Nonsurgical treatments, such as Botox, could cause an allergic reaction or impact the movement of the jaw leading to difficulty eating
  • Liposuction can cause lumpy skin, dimpling and scarring of the skin     

Discussing Jaw Reduction Options with a Doctor

Jaw reduction is an effective way to reduce the jaw and gain a better facial proportion. Plus, the surgical method is a permanent solution while noninvasive methods are temporary. Botox treatments must be continued in order to maintain the results and there is always the potential to put on more fat with weight gain after liposuction. Patients should weigh their options when considering jaw reduction and consult with a board-certified doctor to determine which method is their best choice to achieve the desired results.

Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team -SP

Based on an exclusive interview with Thomas Satterwhite, MD in San Francisco, CA