Mentoplasty, or cosmetic chin surgery, is the reshaping and enhancement of the chin. This may be accomplished either by adding an implant or by reducing the size of natural tissues. A well defined chin is an essential component of a balanced face. A plastic surgeon may suggest chin implants to augment a poorly defined chin. On the other hand, chin reduction is preferred by those with a chin that juts out or is otherwise too prominent for the rest of the facial features.
Are You a Candidate?
Candidates for mentoplasty are those who feel that their chin is out of proportion with the rest of their features. A plastic surgeon may recommend chin surgery to a patient who is also undergoing nose surgery in order to achieve proportion in the facial features. The size of the chin can significantly impact the apparent size of the nose. Apart from the aesthetic benefits, chin surgeries may also be performed for medical reasons, such as repairing a birth defect or damage due to trauma. Good candidates for this procedure have specific goals regarding how they want the appearance of their chin to be changed. In general, the best candidates are adults who are at or near a healthy weight and who are in good overall health.
Procedure: A Step-by-Step Guide
The following provides an overview of how a surgical chin procedure is performed:
- General anesthesia is administered.
- The surgeon begins with an incision either in the natural crease along the jawline or inside the mouth.
- For chin augmentations, the surgeon creates space for the implant by gently stretching the natural tissues. Then, a synthetic implant is placed in this space, where it augments the contours of the patient’s face to make the chin appear more prominent. It is also possible for a surgeon to transplant donor tissues, such as cartilage from a tissue bank, although this is less common than the use of artificial implants.
- For chin reduction surgery, the surgeon trims the bone to a size that is more aesthetically pleasing. Excess fat and other soft tissues may be removed as well. If the chin is set too far back, the surgeon may re-position the bone, bringing it forward.
- Once all of the surgical work is complete, the incision is closed with sutures.
The risks of chin surgery include infection and excessive bleeding. If nerve damage occurs, it could lead to temporary or permanent numbness. Aesthetic complications can include asymmetry or an implant that rotates moves out of position within the chin. Also, there is always the risk that you may not be pleased with the aesthetic results, even if no medical complications occur.
After chin surgery, the area is covered by a surgical dressing. For the first week to ten days of recovery, expect to feel some degree of swelling, redness, and bruising, along with tenderness and discomfort. Your ability to chew will be limited, requiring a liquid or soft food diet for a few days. You may also experience discomfort when speaking, yawning, or otherwise moving your mouth. Many patients find that their chin feels tight or stretched. This sensation usually subsides within a week. Patients are typically able to return home the same day as the procedure and to work and other daily activities in about a week.
What’s the Cost?
On average the cost for chin surgery is $2,000, with the total price between $2,500 and $5,000 when other costs, such as those for anesthesia and the surgical room are included. Chin surgery performed for purely aesthetic reasons is not covered by health insurance, although in cases where the procedure is considered medically necessary, such as correction of birth defects or damage due to trauma it may be covered.