Chin Augmentation Risk of Nerve Damage?

I am 4 weeks post-op and still feeling pain, numbness and tinging. I keep reading that permanent nerve damage is possible but rare. Could someone please describe what "rare" is? Are we talking it occurs 1% or 10% or what percent of the time. I am trying to figure out what my odds are here since I am still having problems.

Doctor Answers 9

Permanent nerve injury from chin augmentation highly unlikely

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You could still have temporary numbness from the dissection around the nerves. When a chin implant procedure is done, the pocket is dissected under direct vision. The mental nerves are identified and avoided, and the implant is placed away from them. A permanent numbness requires a complete cutting of this nerve, which is highly unlikely. Statistics here do not help, just ask your surgeon!

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Permanent nerve damage from chin augmentation very rare

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The risk of permanent nerve damage is very rare. The option for the chin augmentation is through the mouth incision or under the chin incision. The risk of the nerve injury is much less with the incision under the chin.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Numbness after chin augmentation

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Generally speaking, pain and tingling tends to be a good sign and may be indicative of nerve recovery.

As stated by Dr. Rand, there are two major nerves that can be effected by chin augmentation. One is a motor nerve that is typically injured/bruised from the liposuction and typically accompanies chin augmentation; The other is a nerve coming directly out of the jaw bone, which provides feeling to the lower lip. There is one on both sides.

Therefore, if you have relatively symmetric numbness pain and tingling, this is most likely due to swelling and stretching of the nerve. It is likely to return because it would be very unlikely that both nerves were damaged. If you have profound numbness on one side to the point you are drooling and unable to "feel" you lower lip, I would be slightly more concerned but nevertheless, your nerve could still recover.

You should always keep an open dialogue with your surgeon and express your concerns.

I hope this helps.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

How rare is nerve damage?

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Personally, I have never had a patient with permanent nerve damage from a chin implant.

There are two major nerves, though, that come out of the mandible and supply the lower lip with feeling that need to be protected. The pocket created for the implant should go below these nerves. The creation of the pocket and the presence of the implant may stretch these nerves a bit causing their function to temporarily diminish.

If you have feeling in your lower lip, even if it is diminished right now, you should be fine in the long run. Tingling and electrical sensations are all evidence of nerve recovery occurring. Nerves only grow about one centimeter per month so final nerve recoveries from surgery can take 1-3 years or so.

Normal to feel pain one month after chin implant

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It is normal that one month after chin implant that patients are still feeling pain, numbness and tingling. A rare complication is something that occurs less than 1% of the time.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

Cheek augmentation nerve damage risk less than 1%

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I have performed hundreds of chin augmentations and have never had permanent nerve damage. However, it is not uncommon in the short term to experience what you are going through and I would expect it to resolve. Perhaps you should discuss this with your surgeon for advice.

Darrick E. Antell, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Permanent nerve damage close to 1%

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I can't give you an exact number but I would say that permanent nerve injury is closer to 1% than 10%. Transient, self-correcting nerve injury, however, is much more common.

The fact that you still have pain and discomfort is nothing to worry about as long as your surgeon establishes that you don't have an infection or some other untoward event. The fact that you have tingling is actually a good thing, as it usually indicates that the injured nerves are re-growing. In fact, the tingling associated with nerve repair usually starts at about a month, so you are doing what you should be doing. Hang on.

How long does numbness or pain last after chin implant surgery?

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Most patients have minimal numbness that resolves within 1 week of surgery. Relatively few patients may have numbness after chin implant surgery that takes 6-8 weeks to resolve completely. Stretching or swelling of the nerve that supplies sensation to the lower lip can result in this numbness as part of the surgery and as this swelling resolves the numbness fades. Very rarely numbness or pain does not improve and may be the consequence of the implant lying too close or at the sensory nerve, this may occur because of the location or size of the implant or unusual anatomy of the nerve, in these exceptional circumstances the implant may need to be further reduced in size. 

Chin Augmentation Nerve Damage

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Complications and side effects are very uncommon with chin augmentation. However, there is a small degree of risk , in my practice less than 2%. The most likely side effect is altered sensation in the chin and lower jaw, which may be temporary or permanent depending on the extent of the surgery. A plastic surgeon will be able to tell you if you are at particular risk for this type of side effect at time of consultation. In general the longer the numbness or lack of movement the more likely it is to be permanent, especially after a year.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.