Chin Surgery (Genioplasty)
Chin surgery is a common procedure to augment or reduce the chin area of the face. This procedure brings balance to the facial structure. A weak chin can make a normal nose appear large and an already prominent nose seem even larger. In contrast, a prominent chin may give the appearance of having too small of a nose or otherwise throwing the face off balance. The end result should be a balanced relationship within the structure of the face.
As with all elective surgery, good health and realistic expectations are prerequisites. It is also important to understand all aspects of the surgery. A pleasing, balanced profile can be achieved by inserting an implant or moving the bone forward to augment a weak chin, or by reducing a prominent chin. The result can be greater facial harmony and an increase in self-confidence.
Another possibility for improvement through chin surgery is submental liposuction in which excess fatty tissue is removed to redefine the chin or neckline. When there is a co-existing problem of dental malocclusions or the structure of the jaw itself, orthognathic (jaw) surgery can improve the form and function of the lower face and greatly enhance appearance.
Understanding the Surgery
To augment the chin, an incision is made either in the natural crease line just under the chin or inside the mouth, where gum and lower lip meet. By gently stretching this tissue, a space is created where an implant can be inserted. This implant, made of synthetic material that feels much like natural tissue normally found in the chin, is available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. This allows custom fitting of the implant to the configurations of the patient’s face. After implantation, fine sutures are used to close the incision. When the incision is inside the mouth, no scarring is visible. If the incision is under the chin, the scar is usually unnoticeable.
In chin reduction surgery, incisions are made either in the mouth or under the chin. The bone is sculpted to a more pleasing size.
For sliding genioplasty, an incision is made inside the mouth and the bony chin portion of the lower jaw is repositioned forward or backward depending on the type of surgery that is indicated. There is no need to place a chin implant with this procedure.
For orthognathic surgery, an incision is made inside the mouth and the facial bones are repositioned. The procedure, depending on the extent of the work, takes from less than an hour to approximately three hours.
What to Expect After the Surgery
Immediately after surgery, the surgeon usually applies a dressing that will remain in place for two to three days. You will experience some tenderness. Post-operative discomfort can be controlled with prescribed medications. Chewing will probably be limited immediately after chin surgery, and a liquid and soft food diet may be required for a few days after surgery. Most patients feel a stretched, tight sensation after the surgery, but this usually subsides in a week.
After approximately six weeks, most swelling will be gone, and you can enjoy the results of your procedure. Rigorous activity may be prohibited for the first few weeks after surgery. Normal activity can be resumed after approximately ten days.
Insurance does not generally cover surgery that is purely for cosmetic reasons. Surgery to correct or improve genetic deformity or traumatic injury may be reimbursable in whole or in part. It is the patient’s responsibility to check with the insurance carrier for information on the degree of coverage.