Surgery of the Chin
A well defined chin helps give balance to the face and creates a major part of one’s profile. When people look in the mirror, most focus on the size and shape of their noses, their ears, sagging jowls, or fine wrinkling of the skin. But even though few examine their chins with the same discerning eye, having a “weak chin” is certainly not an asset. Surgeons who specialize in rhinoplasty, or surgery of the nose, are often the first to suggest that changes in chin size or shape may enhance a profile as much as rhinoplasty. It is common for the facial plastic surgeon to recommend chin surgery in addition to nose surgery when the surgeon sees that chin augmentation is necessary to achieve facial balance and harmony. Fortunately, this is a relatively straightforward procedure that can make a major difference.
If you are wondering how chin surgery could improve your appearance, you need to know how the surgery is performed and what you can expect from this procedure. This pamphlet can address many of your concerns and provide you the information to begin considering chin surgery.
Successful facial plastic surgery is a result of good rapport between patient and surgeon. Trust, based on realistic expectations and exacting medical expertise, develops in the consulting stages before surgery. Your surgeon can answer specific questions about your specific needs.
Is Chin Surgery For You?
As with all elective surgery, good health and realistic expectations are prerequisites. It is also key to understand all aspects of the surgery. A pleasing, balanced profile can be achieved by inserting an implant or moving the bone forward to build up a receding chin, or by reducing a jutting or too 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 contributing problem of dental malocclusions or birth defects in the structure of the jaw itself, surgery of the jaw can improve the form and function of the lower face and greatly enhance appearance.
Your consultation can help you decide on the type of surgery that addresses your concerns. Your surgeon can also provide information on new medical techniques for chin surgery and offer recommendations for supplementary surgery that can ensure the greatest improvement.
Making the Decision for Chin Surgery
Whether you are interested in chin surgery for functional or cosmetic reasons, your choice of a qualified facial plastic surgeon is extremely important. During the consultation, your surgeon will thoroughly examine your chin and jaw to pinpoint problems. In some instances, the surgeon will suggest chin surgery as a supplement to rhinoplasty because a small chin can make the nose appear larger. Your surgeon will weigh other factors that could influence the outcome of surgery such as age, skin type, and attitudes toward surgery. The surgical procedure will be described in detail along with reasonable projections. If you opt for surgery, your surgeon will describe the technique indicated, the type of anesthesia to be used, the surgical facility, any additional surgery, and 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 space 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, 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. For orthognathic surgery, the surgeon will make an incision inside the mouth and reposition the facial bones. 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.
Facial plastic surgery makes it possible to enhance your appearance and eliminate signs of premature aging that undermine self-confidence. By changing how you look, facial plastic surgery can improve your self-image.
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.
This section © Copyright 2000 American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery