Chin surgery (mentoplasty) reshapes the chin through either augmentation or reduction. Augmenting the chin involves inserting implants under the skin to increase the size of the chin. Chin reduction involves removal of bone to decrease the chin.
- This surgery can dramatically alter the profile of the face and balance out larger features.
- Chin surgery is a procedure that can be and often is done in conjunction with nose surgery.
- Implants are usually synthetic.
- Chin surgery takes 1 to 2 hours and is performed in a hospital or clinic under anaesthesia.
People who are unhappy with the size and shape of their chin and the balance of their face often elect to have this surgery. Only people free of bone disease are candidates for this procedure.
Reasons for choosing to have chin surgery
Some people are born with small or asymmetrical chins, which can make the face look unbalanced. This surgery can dramatically alter the profile of the face and balance out larger features. If you feel self conscious about the appearance and proportion of your face, it is a procedure worth considering.
Things to consider once you’ve decided to have chin surgery
Often people who have decided to undergo chin surgery (mentoplasty) find that their chin then looks too small. Chin surgery is a procedure that can be and often is done in conjunction with nose surgery (rhinoplasty).
Some surgeons have software that can show you how your face will look after surgery. It’s a good idea to spend some time with your surgeon working on this ‘after’ image so that you both have a clear understanding of the look you want.
If you have chosen to have a chin augmentation in which an implant is placed under the skin, you need to decide on the implant material. Implants are usually synthetic, and it is rare that a surgeon will create an implant from existing bone or cartilage.
The most commonly used implant is made of solid silicone, manufactured to be hard or soft depending on where it’s going to be used in the body. This silicone is different to the silicone used in breast implants in that it is much more solid but still flexible, like the existing tissue of the chin.
Another implant option called polytetrafluoroethylene (or ePTFE for short) is made of GoreTex and is porous, to allow existing tissue to ‘grow’ onto the implant. The ePTFE implant is much stronger and more solid than silicone.
Both implants come in various shapes and sizes and can be moulded even further if necessary. They are made to last a lifetime and very rarely break down or move.
What to expect
Chin surgery takes 1 to 2 hours and is performed in a hospital or approved clinic under anaesthesia. If other surgery is being performed at the same time (such as nose surgery), then the procedure will take longer.
The traditional method of performing chin surgery is to make an incision in the crease under the chin or inside the mouth where the gum meets the lower lip. With gentle stretching of this tissue, your surgeon can make a space big enough to insert an implant or remove bone.
Most chin surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis, which means you will more than likely be sent home a couple of hours after you’ve recovered from the effects of anaesthesia.
Before and after surgery
There are a number of things you can do leading up to any kind of surgery to improve the experience. There are also a number of things you can do following any surgery.
Your surgeon may have given you specific post-operative instructions, such as icing the area to decrease inflammation (a bag of frozen peas makes a good ice pack) and sleeping with your head elevated for 1 to 2 weeks following the surgery. Observing these instructions will improve your outcome.
Swelling and bruising are common after surgery, but should start to disappear after a week. Itching is also common, as nerve endings are inevitably cut. The itching will disappear as the nerves heal.
Scars are hidden either under the chin or in the mouth and are not visible at all. Whether or not you can see them, be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions on scar healing treatments. The scars can take up to a year to completely resolve.
You will experience some tightness in your chin when your face moves. This should subside after about a month.
You can expect to be back to work and most normal activities in about two weeks. More strenuous activity, such as exercise, is possible after about 3 weeks following surgery.
Possible risks and complications
As with any surgical procedures there are risks involved in chin surgery. You should be fully aware of these before you elect to have the procedure. It is always best to err on the side of caution when surgically changing your face.
Familiarise yourself with the list of complications that could arise as a result of any surgery.
The best way to reduce risk is to find a fully qualified surgeon with formal training in chin surgery who has performed the procedure many times.
Specific complications that may occur after chin surgery:
Numbness, tightness and sensitivity of the chin area will be present immediately after the surgery. These sensations can take as long as 6 months to completely disappear.
If an implant moves out of alignment from tissues healing at different rates, then a second operation may be needed to replace the implant.
Rough costs involved
Surgeon, anaesthetist and hospital costs will vary. A rough estimate on these costs is somewhere between $6000 and $9000 (AUD). Some private health insurers in Australia may help with hospital bed and theatre fees. Having a doctor’s referral will enable you to claim some of the cost.
You should expect the costs to be higher if you are having combined procedures at the same time.
This information is correct as of 2019.