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Temporalis and masseter muscle atrophy
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Temporalis and masseter muscle atrophy

Within about 8 or 10 months, my temporalis and masster muscles on both sides of my face wasted away significantly. It left me with protruding cheekbones and hollow temples. The change has been very dramatic.

During the time that this happened, I had pretty serious TMJ problems. A disk in my left TMJ became displaced, my jaw was in a closed lock for almost a year and I was diagnosed with TMJ internal derangement and osteoarthritis. Muscle spasms and pain were very common in the beginning but have since subsided.

My health is otherwise good. I have not lost any weight whatsoever to explain the wasting. The muscle wasting became very apparent at age 27-28 and came about so quickly that this cannot be normal aging.

I received treatment for my TMJ issues 5 months ago and have regained almost full range of motion in my jaw. But I have not regained the lost muscle mass and still have major hollowness in the temples and cheeks. My TMJ specialist does not have any answers for me. I have scoured tmj literature and forums and cannot find this particular problem.

My questions are:

What could explain this? Could it be connected to my TMJ problems or is it something else entirely?  Could permanent nerve damage from TMJ explain the wasting?
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I am sorry you are going through all this, that wasting isn't normal.   I have been having similar issues with my jaw,(but I don't think I have wasting) but just now getting help with it.  I have been doing a lot of research on these types of issues and I believe your issue might lay in you cranial nerves. You need to see a neurologist and get a brain MRI to see if something is damaging that nerve.  
I hope that is not the case, but I cant think of anything else that would do this type of muscle wasting that to so localized.
  I would say it could be connected to your tmj disorder, and I hope it is not permanent. Bell's palsy is where a virus attacks nerves in your face and can cause paralysis of parts of the face and that is usually not permanent, maybe it could be some form of that.

I hope it gets getter soon!  Let me know if you find out the cause,  Stacey
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your response! I hope it is just disuse atrophy and that there is no underlying problem with the cranial nerves. But the lack of improvement is making me think otherwise. I'm going to go see a neurologist and will let you know what I find out!
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Avatar_m_tn
I am exactly the same age as you, and I have exactly the same problem!!
I got TMJ for about 8 months now.
My cheeks and temples are sunken, and I loss almost all of my facial fat (under eyes and forehead).
So, have you got MRI yet? Is it really about nerve damage?
I'm thinking about seeing neurologist, too.
According to my TMJ dentists (I went to consult 2 tmj specialists), one said it's because of muscle atrophy, another said it's because of muscle tightness (that might cause fat loss).
I'm so confuse and doubt that it might be nerve damage as well!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
I am exactly the same age as you, and I have exactly the same problem!!
I got TMJ for about 8 months now.
My cheeks and temples are sunken, and I loss almost all of my facial fat (under eyes and forehead).
So, have you got MRI yet? Is it really about nerve damage?
I'm thinking about seeing neurologist, too.
According to my TMJ dentists (I went to consult 2 tmj specialists), one said it's because of muscle atrophy, another said it's because of muscle tightness (that might cause fat loss).
I'm so confuse and doubt that it might be nerve damage as well!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
I have the exact same problem. I have been suffering from TMJ problems for 4 months now and have had significant loss of my temporalis and masster muscles. My face looks hallow after a relatively short period of time. Does anyone know if this is revers able?
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Avatar_f_tn
I have the same problem and I am 36. Did anyone find anything?
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Avatar_m_tn
Very interesting.  I am 42 and have been having horrible TMJ issues.  I had a doctor inject one side of my face (the painful side) with prolotherapy.  For a period of time is had me pain free.  Unfortunately I had him inject me one last time because I still had clicking and it has been a disaster.  I am now experiencing pain in the joint (prior the pain was in my temple and eye area).  Additionally it has left my face completely asymmetrical.  The left side is much larger.  The doc says prolo can't grow tissue that way but my face is living proof that it can.  It's a thought for those of you with tissue loss.  Or you could try fillers.
If anyone knows of a good TMJ specialist, please let me know.  I'm in the northeast and considering flying to Houston to see Dr. Auvenshine.
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