Chin Surgery

At Buckhead Plastic Surgery, Atlanta

The chin is small, however, it occupies a prominent position. The chin has long been an object of curiosity and a basis for judging human character. A person with a weak or deficient chin may be thought of by others as being timid or weak whereas the individual with a strong chin is expected to be determined and decisive. One of the hallmarks of an attractive face is a slightly protruding chin.

Anatomically, the chin is the area below the crease that is just below the lower lip. The chin itself is made up of the bony prominence from the mandible and the muscular coverage of the mentalis muscle. Characteristics of the chin considered aesthetically pleasing vary from culture to culture. The general characteristics associated with facial beauty have changed little throughout the history of Western civilization. Harmony of facial structures is the primary determinant of the ideal facial appearance.

Absolute measurements are not as important as the relative size and proportion that each structure contributes to one another. The prominence of the lips and chin relative to each other and the mid-facial structures such as the cheek and nose has much to do with the appeal of the lower face. Correcting a deficient chin to a slightly more prominent chin often restores this facial balance and harmony.

Problem: Small chin (in relation to other facial features)

Solution: Chin augmentation, also known as genioplasty

What Is Chin Augmentation?

In general, there are three techniques to augment the chin and even the mandible. If the entire mandible is short, the chin may or may not be deficient. A procedure that extends the mandible may restore facial harmony. This procedure is involved and should be performed only by a plastic surgeon or oral maxillofacial surgeon who does this technique regularly.

Generally, these procedures fall more under the reconstructive portion of plastic surgery then he asked that it portion however they do have a tremendous impact on the aesthetics of the lower one third of the face. The next two procedures fall more in the area of aesthetic appearance only.

Since the chin is made up of a bony prominence, the bone can be cut and moved forward to increase the projection of the chin and straighten a crooked chin. The last of the general categories for chin augmentation is to place a hard silicone rubber pre-fabricated chin implant into a precisely delineated pocket to augment the chin and restore facial harmony. This procedure is the one most often used by plastic surgeons for chin augmentation.

A consultation will help determine which procedure is right for you. We are qualified and experienced in these procedures and have the skills to help you choose which procedures are best for your needs. Each of your features will be individually examined as well as how they combine with the face as a whole. We can then define what to correct and how much to correct without the appearance of having surgery.

How It's Done

This surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Your plastic surgeon may perform this in an outpatient surgery center, hospital, private surgery center or office surgical suite. Dr. Alan N. Larsen performs this procedure in an office surgical setting which is fully accredited with AAAASF. An overnight stay is usually not necessary unless the procedure is performed in conjunction with other procedures.

Dr. Larsen performs this procedure under general anesthesia, although in some cases local anesthesia with sedation is used. Chin implants should only be performed by board certified plastic surgeons and qualified facial plastic surgeons. The chin implant is tailored to each patient's specific conditions. Along with a chin implant many  patients have a rhinoplasty so the aesthetic proportions are restored to the mid-face, nose, and lower face, the mandible and chin.

Chin augmentation begins with your consultation and continues right through carefully placed incisions which are made either in the gumline or beneath the chin and are about one inch long. Through this incision, the bony prominence of the chin is visualized. A tunnel is made below the covering of the bone. The implant is then carefully placed into this pocket/tunnel and sutured into position.

If the incision is made inside the mouth along the gumline, absorbable sutures are usually used. You may be able to feel them with your tongue. They will fall out in 1-2 weeks on their own. If the incision is placed underneath your chin, the sutures will be removed 5-6 days after surgery by Dr. Larsen. After removing the sutures, the incision will be taped for the next 4-6 weeks.

Recovery

Following surgery your chin may be swollen and numb. A dressing consisting of gauze will be placed on your chin with a stretchy foam tape to hold the implant in place while it heals. Most patients experience some discomfort but don't complain of severe pain.  Soft cold compresses for the first 48 hours will be followed by warm compresses. Strictly keeping your head elevated with no movement will lead to a speedy recovery.

Cold compresses or ice packs also decrease the tenderness, swelling and bruising that is possible after this procedure. Patients usually eat a soft diet for the first day and then resume a normal diet. The numbness you experienced initially after surgery should wear off within a day or two after surgery but can be persistent.

Assistance from a responsible adult is critical to decrease the possibility of complications and lead to a good outcome. Usually after 4-5 days, the stitches are removed despite swelling and noticeable incisions. Patients are usually ready to venture outside at this time.

As with any surgery, wearing sunscreen and a hat to protect the healing skin from the sun is essential. Bruising may persist along the neck for several weeks. In a few weeks you will resemble yourself with a more prominent chin. Complete healing will continue under the surface of the skin for quite some time. It is not uncommon for mild swelling and small lumps and bumps to take 1-2 months or more to resolve.

What to Expect

Initially after surgery you will be sleepy. You will be sore but not in severe pain. Over the next week or so the bruising or ecchymoses will resolve. Swelling starts to resolve after about 5-7 days and you begin to notice your new chin. The skin covering your chin will feel tight and may appear shiny for the first few days followed by a slow transition to a normal appearance and feeling. After one month you should look better and after three months you should look great. Expect 4-6 weeks to return to full activity.

Risks

Risks of surgery include bleeding beneath the skin, fluid collections, asymmetries and thickening of the scars. There is a rare complication of nerve injury which may lead to prolonged or permanent numbness to the lower lip. The implant with time may slip or change size. As with any surgery there are the risks associated with anesthesia. Please see informed consent augmentation genioplasty for a more complete list.

Recovery Timeline

  • Discomfort the first night.
  • Strict head elevation for the first 10 days to two weeks after surgery. Discomfort resolves quickly over the first 2-3 days.
  • After 4-5 days, your dressing will be removed. Sutures will be removed at the same time.
  • A more normal routine usually starts to take place 4-5 days after surgery.
  • Most patients return to work 4-5 days after surgery.
  • Allow 4-6 weeks after surgery to return to full activity.

Complementary Procedures

Rhinoplasty can restore facial balance and harmony to the midface.

Lip Augmentation can provide fuller lips to help restore balance and harmony to the lower face.

Learn More About Chin Augmentation

You can learn more about chin augmentation in Atlanta by contacting the office of double board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Alan N. Larsen. Our plastic surgery office is located in the Buckhead area of North Atlanta. Call (404) 367‐9005 to inquire about a consultation.