What is it?
The chin is an important part of an individual’s overall facial harmony. It helps to balance the facial features, especially in profile. Adding a genioplasty can often significantly impact and improve the overall results of a rhinoplasty, face lift, or jaw surgery. Depending on the anatomic abnormality, as well as patient preference, a genioplasty can be performed in two different ways. One option is placing a chin implant. Chin implants are made of solid silicone and come in different shapes and sizes customized to the patient’s needs. The other option is a formal “sliding genioplasty” which involves cutting the patient’s bone and sliding it forward to create more projection. This option avoids having an implant, but has a more difficult and painful recovery. Due to their extensive craniofacial training, the surgeons at Lift Plastic Surgery are uniquely equipped to perform either procedure.
What happens during surgery?
A chin implant is placed either through a small incision on the inside of the mouth, or an incision underneath the chin where it is hidden. Before surgery, the proper implant size and contour is chosen. During surgery, a pocket is made that is just big enough to fit the implant so that it does not migrate, and it is also secured with sutures. The implant sits on top of the natural bone of the chin. The incision is then closed with absorbable sutures and covered with skin glue.
During a sliding genioplasty, an incision is made on the inside of the mouth behind the lower lip, and all of the tissue is lifted off of the bone. The bone is then cut with a saw, creating a piece that is able to move forward to the desired projection. The bone is then held in place in its new position with metal plates and screws which are permanent. The incisions are closed with absorbable sutures.
What will my recovery be like?
After surgery, a compressive dressing is placed to help decrease swelling. Expect that you will have bruising and swelling after surgery. You may also have some numbness of the lower lip and chin due to nerves in the area of the surgery that can become irritated. This will be more pronounced with the sliding genioplasty. If there are incisions in the mouth, you will have to be careful brushing your teeth, and will have to use a special mouth wash three times a day. Swelling will be significantly improved after a week, but may take several weeks to completely resolve. If you have numbness, it may take months to gradually resolve, but is rarely permanent. You will also need to minimize exercise or vigorous activity for 4-6 weeks after surgery to allow for proper healing and to prevent bleeding and worsening of swelling. You should plan for activities accordingly. A compression garment worn for 4-6 weeks helps to decrease swelling and improve overall results. Sutures in the mouth will dissolve on their own.
What are the risks?
Whenever an implant is placed there is always a risk of infection, or that the body may reject the implant or it may become exposed. Should this occur, the implant would have to be removed. Even though every precaution is taken to prevent it, it is also possible that the implant could become misplaced and have to be repositioned. There is a large nerve that exits the lower jaw and is responsible for sensation to your chin and lower lip. It is possible for this nerve to become irritated by the surgery or the implant itself which can cause numbness to these areas. Usually this is not permanent, but may take several months to resolve.