Many people have a chin that is just too small for their face. When one has a lack of chin projection, the face is weakened. It can also make the nose look longer than it really is. For this reason, many patients will seek surgery to improve the appearance of the chin. This is accomplished by inserting a small synthetic implant over the natural bone. The operation can also greatly enhance the results of a face lift, since loss of chin projection may occur with aging. Chin augmentation is also
commonly combined with facial liposuction. Fat is removed from under the chin and from the neck area.
The facial profile can be balanced by extending the chin in relationship to the nose. Reconstructive mandibular sliding surgery to correct bite dysfunction can be performed in conjunction with chin surgery. Thousands of genioplasties are performed successfully each year. Surgery may be performed in the surgeon's office-based facility, a hospital, or an outpatient facility.
In children general anesthesia is used to eliminate apprehensiveness and produce sleep throughout the operation. In adults, clinical assessments including X-rays of the face and chin are used for preoperative planning.
One surgical approach is to make an incision inside the mouth along the inferior sulcus (a "landmark" inside the lower gum) to gain access to the chin bone. A horizontal cut (called an osteotomy) is made through the jaw bone (mandible) with a bone saw or chisel. The lower portion of the separated bone is moved forward to the desired position and wired or screwed in with titanium plates. The mental nerves are carefully protected. The incision is closed with sutures and an external pressure dressing is applied. There is no visible scarring since the surgery is performed through an incision inside the mouth.
When only a modest degree of chin augmentation is required to provide contour, the surgeon may use a prosthetic chin implant (artificial -- made of silicone, teflon, or dacron), or may use bone only. The incision is made either inside the mouth or externally under the chin. A pocket is created in front of the chin bone and under the muscles, and an appropriately sized prosthesis or chin implant is inserted. The incision is closed and a pressure dressing is applied. The resulting external scar is barely visible.
Recovery from chin augmentation involves several phases. Since general anesthesia is used, you may experience some nausea for the first 24 hours, and you should avoid eating substantial amounts of food. Slight oozing may occur around the incisions. Your lower lip may have some numbness for a few weeks, and eating may be uncomfortable for a few days. Limiting strenuous activity and keeping the head elevated will cut down on swelling.