Surgical Chin Augmentation (Mentoplasty & Genioplasty)
Down through the ages, as depicted in the works of many famous artists, a strong chin has been considered a sign of physical beauty. On the other hand, a person with a receding chin is sometimes described as having a “weak’ chin.
Because their faces seem unbalanced to them, people with this condition often find it a source of distress and concern. Chin augmentation, or mentoplasty, is a surgical procedure that has helped thousands of people improve their appearance by altering the contours of their faces. it is designed to add size to or move forward a receding chin.
A chin augmentation, either using surgical or non-surgical techniques, can alter the underlying structure of a person’s face, providing better balance to the facial features. The specific medical terms mentoplasty and genioplasty are used to refer to the reduction and addition of material to a patient’s chin. This can take the form of chin height reduction or chin rounding by osteotomy, or chin augmentation using implants.
Chin augmentation is still popular because it is a relatively easy operation for the patient while producing noticeable changes in the silhouette of the face. Chin implants are used to build a better profile. And in some cases, the same effect can be achieved using non-surgical techniques, such as injecting fillers to build out the desired area of the chin.
In some cases, a chin augmentation is done in conjunction with liposuction surgery or other cosmetic facial procedures such as rhinoplasty (surgery of the nose) and rhytidectomy (facelift).
The best candidate for chin augmentation is the individual with a receding chin and a normal dental bite. For those with a bite dysfunction, jaw surgery, in conjunction with mentoplasty, may be necessary.
Before and After Surgery
Prior to surgery, a complete medical history is taken in order to evaluate the general health of the patient. A careful examination of the face is also conducted. The physician describes the type of anesthesia to be used, the procedure, what results might realistically may be expected and possible risks and complications. Photographs may be taken before and after surgery to evaluate the amount of improvement.
Preoperative instructions may include the elimination of certain drugs which contain aspirin in order to minimize the possibility of excess bleeding. Antibiotics may be prescribed for a few days prior to surgery to prevent infection. The areas to be worked on are carefully marked.
The surgery can be done in a physician’s office, an outpatient surgical facility or a hospital, depending upon the physician’s and patient’s preference. Medication to relax the patient may be administered prior to surgery.
There are two basic procedures used in mentoplasty; one involves moving the chin bone forward and the other, the use of a plastic chin implant. To move the bone forward, an incision is made inside the mouth. (Fig. A) The surgeon, working through the incision, uses special instruments to cut through the chin bone. The lower portion of the bone is then moved forward and wired to keep it in position. (Fig. B) Small sutures are used to close the incision, and external bandages are applied to the area.
A second procedure, a chin implant, may also be used to create a more prominent jaw. In this technique, the incision is either made either inside the mouth or externally, under the skin. A plastic prosthesis, sized exactly to fit the patient, is placed in a pocket above the chin bone and beneath the muscles. (Fig. C) Sutures are used to close the incision and pressure bandages are applied. The procedure may take from two and a half to three hours or more depending on whether other procedures are done at the same time.
Pain connected with the surgery is minimal to moderate and is controlled with oral medication. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection. The bandages are usually removed within a week. Patients are up and around the day of surgery; however, strenuous activities must be avoided for some time. The physician determines when normal activities can be resume based on the extent of surgery and the patient’s healing process.
Things to note:
- Some temporary swelling and bruising of the face are to be expected. Keeping the head slightly elevated when reclining and applying cold compresses may help reduce swelling.
- Chewing may be difficult for ten days to two weeks and numbness around the treated area may occur for a period of time. Brushing the teeth is sometimes difficult for several days.
- Scars from the incisions fade significantly with time and are, for the most part, inconspicuous because of their location.
Complications are rare; however, there are certain inherent risks connected with every surgical procedure which should be thoroughly discussed with the physician. Patients can minimize complications by carefully following directions given by the physician.