Genioplasty or chin surgery
Genioplasty is most frequently a cosmetic surgery, meaning people choose to have it for looks and not because of a medical problem. For this reason, it’s often not covered by insurance.
There are several ways to conduct this procedure:
- advancement, or moving the chin forward
- pushback, or moving the chin backward
- side-to-side, which can help with asymmetrical chins
- vertical changes, such as making the chin longer or shorter
There are two main types of genioplasty: sliding genioplasty and chin implants.
This procedure can take place in a hospital or an office operating room. Most have general anesthesia for the procedure.
To start, your surgeon pulls down your lower lip and cuts on the gum of the lower lip below your bottom teeth. Then the soft tissue is separated from the chin bone. Your surgeon uses a saw to cut a small vertical line in the chin for reference. This ensures the bone stays straight when it’s moved forward or backward.
The doctor then makes a horizontal cut along the chin bone. If you’re getting your chin moved backward or made smaller, your doctor also cuts out a wedge of bone. Then they slide the bone forward or backward and attach screws and possibly a metal plate to ensure it stays in place.
To make your chin longer, they reattach the bone with a gap between the rest of the jaw and the chin. Bone will grow back over time and fill this gap.
To make your chin shorter, they remove the wedge of bone and reattach your chin to the rest of your jaw.
If you’re having your chin moved forward, surgery may create a “step” in the bone. Steps are much more visible in women than in men because of a lack of facial hair. If you have a step, your surgeon may shave some of the bone down to avoid it showing.
Then the incision is stitched closed. Your doctor then puts compression tape on the outside of your mouth and chin to ensure the area is protected during early healing.
Following your surgery, your surgeon will instruct you to take oral antibiotics for two days. Oral stitches are absorbable, so you won’t have to return to the hospital to get them removed.
You may begin eating normally as soon as you feel you’re ready. A liquid or soft-food diet is recommended. You must rinse your mouth with water or antiseptic oral rinse following every meal.
After three to five days, you can remove your wound dressings and compression tape, and return to your daily routine. Don’t exercise for the first 10 days following surgery. Don’t participate in contact sports for six to eight weeks.
You may notice swelling, redness, or bruising, which should go away after a few days.
If you notice any of the following, you should contact your doctor immediately:
- fever of 100.4˚F (38˚C) degrees or higher
- bruising, redness, or swelling that doesn’t go away within a week
- strong-smelling odor coming from the incision
- yellow or green discharge
- bleeding that can’t be stopped with light pressure
For a chin implant, a surgeon can either cut inside your mouth or under your chin. Before surgery, your surgeon will have sculpted the implant to the right size and shape so it’s ready for insertion.
There are several different types of alloplastics used for chin implants, such as silicone, teflon, and medpore. Medpore is a newer material that’s growing in popularity because it has “pores” in the plastic, which allow for the tissue to adhere to the implant rather than around it. Implants are adhered to the bone using screws.
Once the material is implanted, the surgeon stitches up the incision. This procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours.
If you choose to have a nonsurgical implant, your doctor may inject dermal fillers or some of your own fat following liposuction.
Fillers are injected with a needle and involve no scarring and minimal recovery time.
Surgical implants have a similar recovery time to sliding genioplasty because the tissue must have time to adhere to the implant. In-mouth sutures are absorbable and don’t need to be removed.
You may begin eating a soft-food or liquid diet as soon as you feel comfortable. Make sure to rinse following every meal with water or antiseptic rinse.
Complications for genioplasty include:
- allergic reaction to an implant
- extrusion of implant
- exposure of screws
- nerve damage that causes mouth or lip numbness