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Will Electric Stimulation Machines Help Firm Facial Muscles?

What do you think about using an electrical stimulation machine to firm up facial muscles? I'm on a facial exercise regimen - which I'm going to try for 4 mos & I also have a electrical muscle stimulator - which I'm using on my facial muscles - we'll see what happens.

Doctor Answers (33)

Electrical Stimulation (e-stim) for muscle growth or muscle bulk or as as substitute for resistance exercise


Electrical stimulation has been used to maintain muscle growth/volume to prevent atrophy in cases of denervation (nerve injury) or when resistance is eliminated (zero gravity enviroments that occurs with astronauts) but it is my understanding that it has not been successful in enhancing muscle growth or bulk.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Electrical stimulation to help lift the face and firm facial muscles

   The verdict is still out on this one. We see patients with facial paralysis and its very obvious that  knocking out facial muscles causes severe droop in the face and around the eyes. Yet we also see muscle hypertrophy as an undesirable aging effect in the forehead, neck and jaw region. I think that eventually we will tailor our treatment plans to selectively train and firm up certain facial muscle groups with electro-stimulation and relax other groups with neuro-modulators to achieve the best results.

Joseph Shvidler, MD
Tacoma Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Electrical Stimulation Does Not take the place of a face lift

Firming facial muscles by electric stimulation or other means will not help your skin and therefore will not result in rejuvenation. You age in three ways: lax drooping skin and underlying muscles, skin surface aging and loss of volume - for example in your cheeks. Each is addressed separately. For example when considering your lower face and neck: An exam is always needed to determine how the specific causes of your undesired neck and facial appearance. In particular there are 4 main factors that need to be evaluated:
1. the amount of redundant skin, including excess fat in your jowls and below the chin, (requires neck or lower facelift (mini - lift)
2. banding of your neck mid-line neck muscles (platysmal bands) - requires platysmal plication (neck tightening)
3. elasticity of your skin. - requires laser or peels, thermage, ultherapy
4. a weak chin (supports the skin structure) - requires chin augmentation
Each of these components are dealt with in a different manner. For example, excess fat requires direct removal or liposuction (more common), widely spread playtsmal bands are brought together (neck tightening), and excess skin is removed with a lower facelift or neck lift (this can be done with minimal scars). Certain lasers and peels can help with elasticity problems and your photo seems to indicate adequate chin projection.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

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Your muscles will get exercise.

What is the reason to exercise your facial muscles? People who have had a Bell's Palsy, or stroke, or for some other reason have weak facial muscles would benefit from stimulation and exercise. If, however, you are using muscle stimulation for rejuvenation, you are being misled. Aging of the face manifests as loose skin with no elasticity, and loss of volume. Exercising muscles of the face will not make you look younger.

Stephan Finical, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Will electrical stimulation machines help firm facial muscles?

Electrical stimulation may be helpful in cases where the facial nerves have been injured (such as Bell's Palsy) during the nerve recovery period but there is no evidence that e-stim is helpful in firming, tightening or bulking the facial muscles. If you are asking this question to determine if e-stim will help hold off or improve facial aging then the answer is probably not. The real problem in facial aging is the change in the skin and the fat of the face. As we age our skin loses its elasticity and, in effect, slides off the underlying muscles. We also lose significant amounts of facial fat that changes the shape of our faces. Facial rejuvenation surgery is required to reposition those tissues over the muscles and to restore facial volume for a youthful and healthy shape.

Kevin L. Smith, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Electrical stimulation and firm facial muscles

Facial stimulation may be useful if you have a medical condition such as Bell's palsy or other neurological problem in which eventual muscle recovery is anticipated.  However,  it is not useful in reversing the signs of facial aging.  Facial aging changes are primarily caused by volume loss and loss of skin elasticity.  Actinic damage (sun damage) expedites the aging process as well.  The stimulation may lead to a small increase in the amount of muscle bulk, but do not expect this to reverse the signs of facial aging

John Zavell, MD, FACS
Toledo Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Microcurrent Stimulation

There is no data that supports microcurrent stimulation as a way of reversing the signs of aging in the face.    Your money is better spent on other types of procedures that provide meaningful and measurable improvement. Consult your board certified plastic surgeon to find out more information. 

Christopher Khorsandi, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Electrical stimulation and your face

Gone are the days of Bruce Lee! Growing up I used to watch Bruce Lee movies and learned of his electro stimulation technique to firm up muscles. These techniques have not been proven to rejuvenate the face however.

Jose E. Barrera, MD, FACS
San Antonio Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Electric Stimulation to Firm Facial Muscles

The facial mimetic muscles are amongst the most utilized muscle fibers in the body.  They are fast twitch muscles with a very high nerve to muscle fiber ratio.  Increasing stimulation to these muscles isn't likely to yield any functional or aesthetic benefit fr the average patient.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Electrical Stimulation

Thank you for your question.

You can try electrical stimulation and facial exercises, but I don't believe it will provide a huge benefit or the desire you may be hoping for.

Glynn Bolitho, PhD, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.