After Temporal Muscle Reduction Will I Be Able To Open My Mouth As Wide As before?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had muscle reduction done for my very bulgy temporal areas six weeks ago. While there is already visible improvement, I do have some minor concerns and wanted to know if what I am experiencing is normal. I have noticed that the temporal area in the non-hair bearing portion above the cheek arch seems to be a llittle bigger than before. It is soft and fleshy and does not hurt. Will it stay this way or go down with some more time? Also my mouth opening seems to be lityle less wide than before. I have no problem eating and speaking but it does not seem to go as far open as before. Will this stay this way or will it eventually return to normal? Right now it measures 38mms between my front teeth when I open as wide as I can.

A: Seeing the final result after temporal muscle reduction is a process that takes up to six months after surgery to see the final contour result. So at six weeks you have a ways to go. But to address your two specific concerns:

1) That bulging just above the zygomatic arch is very typical at this point. The muscle has shortened so the bulk of it, for now, is in this area. This is where the muscle passes under the zygomatic arch and is it’s thickest part. Also it also may appear bigger (even if it is not really bigger) because what was above it has gotten smaller. So it may be a relative perception issue. Like above, I wait for the full six months to see how the muscle changes.

2) So-called normal oral range of opening is 45 to 55mms. for most people.  (I just  measured mine and it was 48mms) Anything over 30mms is very functional and would not cause issues with eating or speech. I don’t know what you were before surgery but i suspect maybe 10 to 12 mms more. I would g ahead and work on some daily stretching of it to see if you can get back up to 40mm plus. I suspect you will be able to do so.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana