The mentalis is a muscle located directly below the lower lip, near the chin tip. It is responsible for raising the lower lip. Since it works to wrinkle the chin and push the lower lip out, it is often called as the pouting muscle. Someone who exaggerates her expression of displeasure or sadness will most likely use this muscle. Although most people go through life without giving much thought to their mentalis, some people are plagued with medical conditions and disorders that greatly affect this muscle.
The mentalis does not usually pose a problem for most people, but there are a few disorders and conditions that may require medical attention. For example, geniospasms, a rare genetic disorder, may affect the mentalis muscle. With geniospasms, the chin and lower lip quiver involuntarily and repeatedly. Geniospasms are usually brought on by stress, usually beginning in childhood.
Luckily, when the mentalis is affected by geniospasms, there are medical procedures that can be used to control the spasms. Specifically, injections of botulinum toxin A, known by the brand name Botox®, work well. As a result of the injections, the muscle is paralyzed, but the facial expressions are not impaired and the speech is not impeded. Botox® is one of the most cost effective, least painful, and quickest methods to treat the problem. However, all options should be considered because there are side effects to Botox®, as well, including pain, headache or upset stomach.
Some people may opt to have cosmetic surgery to alter the size or shape of their chin. If the chin is made smaller, the procedure is called mentoplasty. If the chin is made larger, it is called genioplasty. In either case, the mentalis muscle is detached during the surgery and may then become damaged or incorrectly reattached. As a result, Botox® has proven to be useful to treat the symptoms of the damaged muscle.
In some cases, the mentalis is strained due to a chin deformity. In those cases, a surgeon may recommend a chin implant or filling the chin with fat. The chin implant and the addition of fat typically work to reduce the strain on the muscle.
A specialist should be contacted before undergoing any chin surgery. Mentalis and chin deformities are rather uncommon, but surgery can alter speech and appearance of the affected individual. Surgery is not always necessary, but it may become the best option. A second medical opinion may be warranted in some cases, especially if alternatives to surgery are available.