Can Botox Be Safely/Successfully Used to Decrease Muscle Mass in the Deltoid Muscles?

Want to reduce muscle mass in deltoids. Can BOTOX be used for this and/or has anyone ever used botox for muscle reduction? My body is "proportionately challenged." My upper body is size 6, while my lower body is size 0-1. Because I was born with broad shoulders and narrow or no hips, having lifted weights for sports (in the past)has made the proportions even more severe. I'd like to attempt to reduce just a little of my deltoid muscles, so that I may fit clothing.

Doctor Answers 10

The Use of Botox to Decrease Muscle Size for Aesthetic Purposes

Over the years, Botox has taken on many new uses that are quite controversial. Botox has been used to shrink certain facial muscles to change the hard, angular shape of the jaw line. Also, in certain cultures, Botox has been used to decrease the size of the calf muscles to give a “more feminine” appearance. Using a neurotoxin such as Botox to weaken muscles that are necessary for everyday use to function in our world, because of perceived cosmetic imperfections, seems crazy to me. No reputable physician should provide these treatments. Why not stop using these muscles as much as possible to let them atrophy (shrink) naturally? Or why not find a guy who appreciates strong, broad shoulders in a woman?


South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Botox is not safe to decrease Muscle Mass

Botox does not "paralyze" muscles. It temporarily blocks about 70-80% of the nerves so that the muscle doesn't get the message to contract. This can debulk small muscles in the face, but its use in large muscles is contraindicated because it would be both expensive and cause you to lose the function of this muscle group.

Michael Tomcik, MD
San Ramon Dermatologist
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Why do this?

Yes BOTOX will reduce the bulk of the deltoid through paralysis and disuse atrophy.  This will be at the expense of function.  Your upper arms are fantastic and I would recommend tailoring rather than weakening the shoulder mass with BOTOX.  I as a doctor would turn you away for treatment.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Botox won't reduce muscle mass

Botox will reduce muscle activity but not reduce muscle mass.  There would be too many units needed to inject you safely. You would also risk losing important function of extending your arm at the elbow, such as getting out of a chair or bed by pushing yourself up.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Botox for Deltoid Reduction

Hi Gems.  While the concept of reducing (body) muscle mass may seem interesting to consumers, most physicians will not inject for these purposes.  It's true that Botox can cause a form of muscle atrophy with repeated use, but the muscles in your face are much different and much less hearty than the deltoids. 

The number of units of Botox required to properly relax the deltoid would be very large and would be enough to discourage any credible physician we know from doing the treatment.  A normal dose for the facial area is usually between 20 and 60 units and this area would likely require hundreds.

It would also be extremely expensive for you and we do not advise it.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Botox use to reduce size of large muscles is dangerous

If you want to reduce the size of a particular muscle, stop exercising that muscle.  Large amounts of Botox can have life-threatening consequences and should not be done.  Botox can be used to relieve muscle spasticity under very specific circumstances, but not to reduce the size of large muscles.


Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Using Botox in large muscles.

Yes, I have used Botox to reduce localised enlarged muscles of the face but never one as large as the Deltoid.  This may require quite a large dose of Botox which would need to be injected into a large muscle mass raising the risk of some of the Botox getting into the vascular network.  Botoxing the Deltoid would also have an adverse effect on your ability to move your arms and shoulders.  There must be a better way to re-shape that muscle and IMHO, you should seek advice from a kineseology expert.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Using Botox to purposely weaken/shrink deltoid muscles is not safe.

Remember that Botox causes paralysis. Though very small doses have been shown to be safe for use in muscles of facial expression, and are used for medical purposes for painful spasm, using Botox to paralyze (because this is what would happen) your shoulder muscles would prevent you from being able to lift or move your arms. This is not only silly, if I might say, it is also dangerous, because reflexes in your brain and muscles are used in danger situations like catching yourself from falling, reaching to grab onto something when you are unstable, or pulling back from something like a burning pot or sharp object.

If you paralyze your arm muscles to achieve a look you want, you risk endangering your health or life (and sadly, I am not exaggerating). Please find another way to love your healthy normal body and to dress differently so that you feel attractive.

Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews


I would not recommend using Botox to lessen the size of your Deloid muscle-there is no study on this and I would like to see you go through with this

Edward J. Bednar, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Deltoid muscle and botox

While botox has been shown to help soften the appearance of some muscles of the face, I would not recommend using it on the deltoid muscle for that reason. I do not know of any doctor who would.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 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.