Chin augmentation, which is achieved through a surgical procedure called mentoplasty, or chin surgery, is used to build a larger chin and thereby create a better profile for the patient. Surgical implants are commonly used in chin augmentation. The idea is to have the underlying structure of the patient’s face altered for aesthetic purposes. Chin augmentation is often performed with a rhinoplasty to balance the proportions of the face.
Types of Implants
Implants commonly used for chin implants come from manufactured materials, such as silicone elastomers, porous polyethylene, and expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (or ePTFE).
Because of its biocompatibility and the fact that it does not harm the human body, ePTFE is frequently used in chin augmentation surgery. ePTFE is flexible soft and porous, but very strong. It is inserted in trimmed sheets and held to the bone using titanium screws, and eventually held in place by bone and soft tissue growing through the implant. Another commonly used material is AlloDerm, a material derived from human tissue donors.
Implants can also be supplied via donation from the patient’s own bones, particularly from the ribs or the pelvis. Medical insiders have noted, though, that using donated bone for implant surgery, even when it’s the patient’s own bone, can contribute to a high infection rate after surgery, even decades after the surgery is completed.
Chin Augmentation Procedure
For a chin augmentation, the patient is placed under general anesthesia or twilight IV (intravenous) sedation. During the procedure, incisions are made underneath the chin or in the mouth area where the lip skin and the gum meet. The implant is inserted through the incision and then properly positioned on the chin. The procedure lasts between 1 and 2 hours.
In some cases, chin augmentation can be done without implants. In this case chin augmentation is achieved by manipulating the jaw bone (mandibular), which often provides a more noticeable change than an implant. Although this procedure involves cutting the bone of the jaw, it can achieve results unattainable with implants alone.
After the chin augmentation, patients will feel mild pain that can be treated with pain medication. Patients will have swelling for weeks or months, especially when screws are used to hold the implant in place. Scarring will depend on where incision is made, and will be mutually agreed upon by the surgeon and the patient. In addition, some patients can experience numbness for up to 3 months.
Within a few months after surgery, the results of the chin augmentation become more evident, and will remain throughout the patient’s lifetime. When considering chin implant or mandibular advancement surgery, you should be aware of the options available to you and what works best for your particular case.