Definition and Overview
Chin correction is a surgical procedure that aims to improve the appearance of the chin in relation to the face. This cosmetic procedure corrects a very prominent or very small chin that affects the harmony of the face. With a small chin, the cosmetic surgeon can place a chin implant to augment it, while an overly prominent chin can be improved with a procedure that contours the chin bone.
A chin correction surgery can also be prescribed as a complementary procedure to other facial correction surgery, such as rhinoplasty (commonly known as a nose job), jaw correction, or cheek implants.
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
Ideal candidates for a chin correction surgery include the following:
- Patients with a weak chin
- Patients with an overly prominent chin
- Patients who have recently undergone a rhinoplasty or received cheek implants
After this procedure, the patient can expect to have a better harmony and balance to the face. However, it is important to note that actual results might only be observable after two to three months, after the chin has completely healed and the swelling has gone down.
How is the Procedure Performed?
The procedure will highly depend on what the patient’s chin looks like. The cosmetic surgeon can perform a chin augmentation or a chin reduction, as well as minor corrections to achieve more balanced facial features.
Chin augmentation is often performed for people with a weak chin, or a noticeably weaker chin after a rhinoplasty or a cheek implant surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon will place an implant—made of the patient’s bone (donated from the pelvic bone or the ribs), processed animal bone, or artificial, medical-grade filling materials—directly over the chin bone and under the skin. Silicone, Gore-Tex (also known as polytetrafluoroethylene), and polyethylene are ideal chin implant materials because they are flexible and do not cause adverse reactions in most patients.
In a chin augmentation procedure, the patient will need to consult first with the plastic surgeon to plan the procedure carefully. The surgeon will then make small incisions underneath the lower lip or under the chin itself. These small incisions are made in places where the resulting scars will not be easily visible. The implants will then be slipped through these incisions, and will be sutured with fine stitches. This procedure will take around 30 to 60 minutes.
Another procedure that can be performed on a person with a weak chin is bone correction. In this procedure, the surgeon makes tiny incisions under the chin or around the jawbone to access and split the bone in a horizontal manner, with the lower part moved forward and held in place by biocompatible wires or metal plates.
In a patient with an overdeveloped chin, the surgeon can perform the same horizontal splitting of the chin bone described above, but the lower part will be pushed backward. The bone can also be shaved using an abrasive material. After the surgeon has made satisfactory reductions in the chin bone, the incisions will be sutured with fine stitches.
While a chin correction procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis, the patient will need to wait six to eight weeks for complete recovery.
After the procedure, the patient can go home, but the surgeon will provide some instructions for post-procedure care. The patient should avoid milk and acid-containing foods for a couple of days, and must ensure to use disinfectants in the incisions (especially those made inside the patient’s mouth) to prevent infection. The patient must also refrain from chewing hard foods, laughing, and talking a couple of days after the procedure. Special care must be taken when brushing the teeth to prevent the stitches from opening. The stitches are usually removed a week or two after the surgery, and the patient should not wash the chin before these stitches are removed.
The patient might also experience bruising and inflammation in the area, but these will gradually disappear a couple of days after the procedure.
Possible Risks and Complications
Chin correction procedures, like other types of surgical procedures, have possible risks and complications. Infection, especially from chin implants, is among the major complications. Most surgeons advise patients not to use implants harvested from their own bones, as this pose the highest risk of infection.
Chin correction is generally safe, but the patients will have to watch out for the following:
- Adverse reactions to the anaesthesia
- Nerve damage, which can result in numbness in the chin area
Misplacement of implants
Sykes JM, Frodel JL Jr. Mentoplasty. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund V, et al., eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2015:chap 30.