Chin Implants (also known as Chin Augmentation) are a type of surgery which alters the dimensions and shape of your face, a facial contouring procedure. Chin augmentation is used to enhance facial harmony for people with receding chins. This can be done by way of implants or injectable fillers. The bonus with chin augmentation is the procedure can help to straighten out wrinkles by adding volume under the skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chin Augmentation Options
Chin implants can be inserted alone. However the procedure is usually combined with other facial procedures to achieve the required harmonious balance of your facial contours. This can include liposculpture, cheek implants and even rhinoplasty (nose reshaping). Your surgeon will carefully consider your facial profile and advise you which procedures are best suited for the appropriate outcome.
If the recess is severe, the surgeon may be required to cut the bone and reset the chin forward. This is called a chin advancement or osteotomy operation. It can only be carried out by a maxillofacial surgeon. The recovery for such an operation is lengthy, much more than the healing time required for chin implants.
Types of Chin Implants
There are different types of chin implants available which also come in a range of sizes. The size can range from a button shaped material to anatomic implants which are longer and larger and wrap around or hug the jaw bone.
Silicone is very popular as it can be trimmed to fit the patient and is easy to use. Other materials have been used for chin augmentation including porous polyethylene, calcium hydroxyapatite, Goretex, polymethyl-methacrylate, polypropylene, mesh material and even the patient’s own cartilage, fat or bone.
Chin Augmentation Procedure
The operation can be performed in two ways: intraoral or submental.
The intraoral approach has more complications involved because the implant is inserted via the inside of the mouth. The surgeon makes an incision between your teeth and the lower lip. The length is usually 5cm (2 inches). A pocket is then created for the implant. Once in place and symmetrical, the surgeon uses dissolvable stitches to close the wound. This approach has a higher risk of infection and also migration of the implant. Movement occurs by the implant wanting to move back out of the incision in the mouth.
The submental technique is preferred by many surgeons. Migration and infection complications are reduced with this approach. The incision is made underneath the chin and the implant is inserted upward. Removable stitches are used to close the wound. Surgeons who prefer the intraoral method will use the submental approach when performing other surgery around the area such as liposuction or neck tightening. With this technique, the implant can be placed in a lower position if deemed necessary.
Chin Implants Recovery Process
The recovery process is fairly quick and depends on which method was used for the chin augmentation. After submental insertion, you will have a dressing secured to your chin. You will have swelling in the chin regardless of which method is used. Most of the swelling subsides in a week. It’s normal to feel pain, numbness and tingling for a couple of months following surgery.
Sutures inside the mouth are absorbable, not requiring removal. Stitches under the chin are removed after a week. You will be given antibiotics and pain killers. It’s important to finish the antibiotics. Keep your mouth clean, use mouthwash and apply anti-scarring cream to the outside wound. Also, avoid alcohol intake.
Many surgeons require you to wear a support chin strap for a day or two, up to three weeks. You will be restricted to soft foods for about a week. Avoid trauma or pressure to the lower jaw. The recovery instructions may recommend cold compresses to help with the bruising and swelling.
You should sleep with your head slightly raised. This reduces swelling. Avoid tasks which require you to bend or lift (since these raise blood pressure to the head). Contact sports must be avoided for at least a couple of months.
Patients generally return to work after 3 or four days, but it could take a week.
Risks Involved with Chin Implants
Chin implants are a relatively safe procedure with few complications. However, like all surgery, there are risks involved, which include the following:
Nerve Damage – normally, the numbness is temporary and self-correcting. Permanent nerve damage is a rare complication with chin augmentation (occurring in less than 1% of cases).
Infection – the likelihood of this complication is higher with the internal placement approach but can be remedied with antibiotics. The implant needs to be removed if it gets infected and you will need to have antibiotics. A new implant can be inserted once you have healed (this could take several months).
Disappointing outcome – if the surgeon chooses a chin implant which is either too large or too small or the wrong shape, you could be unsatisfied with the surgery result. It can also cause unevenness in your smile (this is normal while there’s still swelling but it can persist after the chin has settled).
Migration – there can be movement with the chin implant. This will require revision surgery. Sometimes the implant needs to be fixed to the chin bone permanently by using a screw.
Tight scarring – this is rare. If the scar tissue tightens, this can cause the implant to twist.