A well-defined chin helps give balance to the face and plays a major part of one's profile that is often overlooked. Surgeons who specialize in rhinoplasty (surgery of the nose) are often the first to suggest enhancing the chin as part of nasal surgery to achieve facial balance and harmony. Actually, increasing projection of a receding chin can make a prominent nose look smaller without nasal surgery. Fortunately, this is a relatively straightforward procedure that can make a major difference. A pleasing, balanced profile can be achieved by inserting an implant to build up a receding chin. Conversely, a prominent chin can be reduced by shaving or reshaping of the bone. Sub-mental liposuction is often used in combination with chin surgery to further redefine the chin or neckline. If there is a contributing problem of dental malocclusions or birth defects in the jaw structure, oral surgery of the jaw may be required to improve the form and function of the lower face to enhance the appearance.
Making the Decision
During the consultation, your surgeon will thoroughly examine your chin and jaw in relationship to other facial features. Your surgeon will weigh other factors that could influence the outcome of surgery such as age, skin type, malocclusions or birth defects. Your surgeon will provide you with realistic expectations of the selected procedures and can also simulate potential results through our state-of-the-art imaging technology. If you opt for surgery, your surgeon will describe the technique indicated, the type of anesthesia to be used, the surgical facility, risks and costs.
Understanding the Surgery
To augment the chin, the surgeon begins by making an incision 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, the surgeon creates a pocket where an implant can be inserted or bone can be removed. The implants, made of synthetic material that feels much like natural tissue normally found in the chin, are 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, the surgeon uses fine sutures 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 imperceptible.
In chin reduction surgery, incisions are made either in the mouth or under the chin. The surgeon sculpts the bone to a more pleasing size. 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 days after which you will wear a removable “jaw bra” to help support the area. You will experience some tenderness and mild discomfort that can be managed with prescribed medications. We recommend limited chewing with a liquid and soft food diet for a few days after surgery. Most patients feel a stretched, tight sensation after the surgery, but this usually subsides in a few weeks.
Most people will return to normal activity one week after surgery. Rigorous activity will be prohibited for two weeks after surgery. After approximately six weeks, most swelling will be gone, and you can enjoy the results of your procedure.