What is it?
Chin surgery, also known as mentoplasty, is a surgical procedure to reshape the chin either by enhancement with an implant or reduction surgery on the bone. Many times a plastic surgeon may recommend chin surgery to a patient having nose surgery in order to achieve facial proportion, as the size of the chin may magnify or minimize the perceived size of the nose.
Chin surgery helps provide a harmonious balance to your facial features so that you feel better about the way you look. 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.
Some Uncertainty and Risk
All forms of surgery have a certain level or risk and uncertainty associated with them, and chin surgery is no exception. However, these potential complications vary for each patient. It is important to discuss any concerns you may have with your plastic surgeon. When performed by a licensed and experienced medical professional, chin surgery or mentoplasty is a very safe procedure
Before the 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.
When planning for any kind of plastic surgery procedure, it is essential to be open and honest with your doctor and to explain your expectations and goals for the surgery. Together, you will create a treatment plan that is appropriate for your needs. For many patients, a chin surgery or mentoplasty is combined with a rhinoplasty or nose surgery to achieve a fully enhanced facial appearance. The best way to obtain the results you desire from your doctor is to be completely honest with him or her when planning your surgery.
Depending on the extent of the procedure and the desires of the patient, a local or general anesthetic may be used during a mentoplasty procedure. A local anesthetic combined with sedation relieves the sensation of pain while relaxing the patient, while a general anesthetic puts the patient to sleep during the operation. During your consultation you and your doctor will determine which form of anesthesia best fits your needs
Mentoplasty changes the shape of the chin and face by moving part of the bone forward, by adding an implant, or by removing a part of the bone. The specifics of the procedure are entirely dependent on the patient’s needs. Moving the bone forward can help one attain a chin that is stronger in appearance, as can adding an implant. Implants usually take about half an hour to install and can have dramatic effects on one’s overall look. Removing a part of the chin bone can reduce a jutting jaw and give a patient a more welcoming look. During your consultation your plastic surgeon will explain how your particular needs will be met during your procedure.
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.
After Your 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 coverag.
Your New Look
Recovering from chin surgery is usually as simple as the procedure itself. The area around the chin will often be very sore for a few days, and the skin often remains black and blue for about as long. One important part of the healing process is proper dental hygiene, especially if an implant incision was made through the mouth to reduce scarring. The support tape and bandages usually come off after a few days, and once they do you can be proud to show the whole world your new and improved chin.