Chin Reduction Surgery -- Review

My chin has always been slightly long; not crazy...

My chin has always been slightly long; not crazy or distractingly so, but enough to annoy me. After several years I finally decided to jump in and have surgery, and found a maxillofacial surgeon who does many chin reduction surgeries. Although I never thought about my profile, during my consultation my doctor showed how advancing my chin forward very slightly (in addition to reducing the height) would improve my profile, and I agreed. He was very thorough and answered all my questions, went through all the possible risks/complications/side effects, and had me do an extensive set of facial X-rays (as well as a routine blood test) so he could see exactly what was possible. Chin reduction surgery involves disrupting nerves and detaching and reattaching facial muscles, so it is really important to choose a doctor who specializes in chin surgery.

My surgery was performed under general anesthesia and took less than 90 minutes. He went through an incision inside my mouth at the base of my lower teeth (so no visible scars), and cut and removed a 7mm-tall wedge from my chin. (Originally we thought he'd only be able to remove about 5mm, to avoid damaging the nerves, but once he made the incision he saw my nerves were quite short, so he was able to remove more.) He also advanced my chin very slightly forward, about 2-3mm, and I think shaved around the edges so as to maintain my tapered chin shape.

I woke up groggy but in little to no pain, and with a bandage covering my chin and jaw and a compression garment around my head like a giant headband. I went home after a couple of hours and really had very little pain. My doctor doesn't prescribe hydrocodone because it is so dangerously addictive, but the painkillers he gave me were just fine. For the first 5 days I was on a strict liquid diet (to avoid an infection from food particles getting into the incisions), but I found it to be no problem, as general anesthesia seems to depress the appetite for days.

My bandages came off after 5 days and I have to say, my chin length looked pretty unchanged because of the swelling. Additionally, my jaw was boxy-looking and square, as if I had suddenly developed jowls! All around my chin and lower lip was quite puffy and swollen, even underneath the chin in the neck area. Additionally, my bottom teeth were numb and my lower lip & chin were very stiff so I couldn't smile, talk, or laugh normally. The doctor had explained all of these side effects to me before surgery, but still part of me was worried, especially about the square, jowly look.

I am now about 6 weeks post-op. It took about 4 weeks for the squareness and jowls to go away, but they did. At about 3-4 weeks post-op I developed a stabbing pain & tenderness on the right side of my jawline after talking or chewing for a while, but this has subsided now. A little tenderness remains but not much. The tightness in my lower lip and chin has greatly subsided, so I can smile almost normally (not quite at 100% yet). I have most feeling back in my chin and lower lip, but my lower front 4 teeth are still numb. One weird side-effect starting at about 2-3 weeks was my lower lip felt like it was mildly burning, as though I had hot sauce on my lip, and I was constantly applying lip balm to alleviate the feeling. It didn't hurt, it was just annoying, but it seems to have subsided now.

As for how it looks -- at 6 weeks post-op, my chin looks slightly more prominent (in a good way) from the 3/4 profile (which is not reflected in the below photos). It also looks shorter, but it is still swollen and will be until I am at least 6 months post-op. My doctor removed 7mm so I know it is significantly shorter than it was, but because of the swelling I won't see the final result for another 4 months at least.

I think that with chin reductions, the changes are so gradual and therefore less noticeable off the bat. When the bandages first come off you look very similar to how you looked before surgery because of the swelling. So it's such a gradual change -- which is actually good because (1) you won't be shocked when the bandages come off and (2) nobody will be like, "Wow, did you have work done?" My greatest fear in having this surgery was that I would come out looking like a different person. That is not the case: I still look like me, only a bit better.

I'll continue to update as I recover and the swelling abates.
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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