Q: Dr. Eppley, I am inquiring about temporal muscle reduction surgery. My husband’s temporalis is very prominent when he chews and I was wondering if this is something to be worried about. He’s a healthy 25 year old and has no symptoms. Can this be fixed?
A: Having prominent, large or hyperactive temporalis muscles is not something to be worried about for any medical reason… unless one is having chronic muscle pain or spasm from their large size. Many men in particular have prominent temporalis muscles which can become very prominent in its convexity on the side of the head. The larger the lower jaw, the bigger the muscle has to be to open and close it. Thus, the bigger the muscle the more prominent it will be seen when in use from chewing when it maximally contracts.
Whether one should reduce the size of the muscle ‘(fix it’) by temporal muscle reduction surgery is an aesthetic concern not one of medical necessity. Some of the most prominent portions of the temporalis muscle can be reduced/thinned to reduce its bulging appearance (make the area above the ears flatter and not convex) without any effects on jaw opening and closing in my experience with this type of surgery.
Dr. Barry Eppley