I went to a plastic surgeon to ask about a chin implant and he told me that I am not a candidate. I have a really weak chin due to my jaw. I can have jaw surgery but I am not because I don't want to do a really big surgery. He said that having a chin implant will alter my face and look like a bump on my chin. I am confused.
Why is Chin Implant Not a Solution for Receding Chin? (photo)
Doctor Answers 6
Be careful with implants
You likely have retognathia, or a small jaw and not just a small chin. While orthognathic surgery is certainly ideal, this is admittedly quite involved requiring pre-surgical orthodontics and somewhat complex surgery and subsequent downtime (and much more expense). So compromise consideration would include either a bony genioplasty or a chin implant. Implants are ok for you, but if your surgeon uses accepted standards for chin projection, it would be quite easy to put in too large of an implant which could result in an unnatural appearance. My experience has been quite good when chin augmentation is done conservatively (ie. a smaller implant than you would think would be necessary). The alternative is a genioplasty, where the lower aspect of the chin is cut and advanced--even better is when the chin is advanced and lowered (and lengthened) which can produce a remarkably acceptable improvement.
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Digital Imaging Helps With Facial Surgery Decisions
I suspect if your plastic surgeon did a digital photoimaging session with you, that you'd have a better idea of what he's referring to. Current software allows patients to see their images "morphed" to simulate a proposed surgical result. Mentoplasty (chin implant) is very effectively simulated by such software. Rhinoplasty and breast augmentation too. In your case, you have 3 options to consider: mentoplasty (chin implant), genioplasty (chin bone repositioning), and orthognathic jaw surgery. Talk with your surgeon and have him show you what each might look like using modern technology, and then balance the risks and potential benefits in your decision on how to proceed.
From the looks of it, a large chin implant may improve your profile but the real issue appears to be a short lower jaw bone. You need to be fully assessed with x-rays of the jaw, and orthodontic exams. The correct thing to do may be a jaw lengthening procedure with orthodontia in a coordinated approach. This may obviate need for chin implant.
The benefit of the above is that it may save you from tmj pain and tooth loss, as well as address your cosmetic concerns.
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Chin Advancement Options
Your chin recession, actually severe underdevelopment of the entire lower jaw, is so severe that a chin implant would be inadequate to give a satisfactory result. It is not a question of whether it can be done, because it can. It is just that other treatment options would be better such as total lower jaw advancement or even an osteoplastic genioplasty. (moving the chin bone) But since a lower jaw advancement is not an acceptable option, you should consider having a combined osteoplastic genioplasty with an implant in front of it.
Chin implant might help
Your surgeon had the advantage of seeing you in person. If you have a severe occlusion problem, surgery of the mandible might be the best choice. A chin implant might give some improvement and if not, it can easily be removed.
Why is Chin Implant Not a Solution for My Receding Chin?
I am unsure why your plastic surgeon answered your question in that manner. The best solution, if you also have problems with the way your upper and lower teeth come together, is likely to be a jaw surgery. However, from a cosmetic standpoint a chin implant would improve your profile. If you put an implant in large enough to totally remedy the deficiency in your chin it would look very unusual. However, a conservative augmentation with a chin implant would improve your front and side view without looking like a bump. I hope this information is helpful.
Stephen Weber MD, FACS
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