2 weeks post op, Nerve Damage After Chin Implant?

I had a chin implant procedure about 2 weeks ago and ever since waking up i have not been able to pucker properly and the left side of my bottom lip pulls to the left slightly. Sometimes when i drink water, if im not careful it will spurt out because my bottom lip isn't strong enough to seal my mouth. I can feel the numbness gradually going away but the strength of my lower lip doesnt seem to be improving at all and the pulling to the left is the same as well. Is this permanent nerve damage?

Doctor Answers 3

Weakness after Chin Augmentation

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The weakness you described is more common using an intraoral approach rather than beneath the chin. It usually comes back but not always especially if not fully recovered in the first year. 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.

Nerve not working after chin implant

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  There are several important nerves in the area of the chin.  One is a major sensory nerve, called the mental nerve, that is likely the reason you were numb and which is now improving.  The other nerve is a motor nerve, the marginal mandibular nerve, which pulls down the corner of the mouth with actions like speaking or puckering.  Both of these nerves are in "harm's way," but usually the damage is not permanent and results from pulling on the nerve during surgery which causes temporary paralysis. 

   You should expect a full recovery if that is the case, but this can sometimes take as long as 3-5 months.  In the meantime, there is not much you can do.  Some studies have found a quicker recovery with speach exercises and nerve stimulation with electrical impulses.  This can be done at a physical therapy clinic.

   Good luck, and don't worry too much.

Erez Sternberg, MD
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

The Nerve Damage After a Chin Implant is Not Likely to Be Permanent

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The good news is that it is very unlikely that this is permanent. The nerve that pulls down the corner of the mouth and pushes it out when you whistle runs over the top of where the dissection was performed to place the implant. Since your surgeon was not in the same plane as the nerve during the operation it is much more likely that the nerve was bruised ( in which case it will work again) than cut (in which case it will not work again). At this point there is nothing to do but wait. A bruised nerve can sometimes take months to start to function again, so you will have to be patient. It is a completely different nerve that gives sensation to the lower lip and chin. The fact that the sensation is getting better is good, but does not have anything to do with movement. While this occurence is rare, it does happen after this procedure. Make sure and let your surgeon know so the he or she can help guide you through the recovery process.

Michael R. Menachof, MD
Greenwood Village Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

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.