A well-defined chin helps give balance to the face and creates a major part of one’s profile. When people look in the mirror, most focus on the size and shape of their noses, their ears, sagging jowls, or fine wrinkling of the skin. Although few examine their chins with the same discerning eye, having a “weak chin” is certainly not an asset. Changes in chin size or shape may enhance a profile as much as rhinoplasty. It is common for the cosmetic surgeon to recommend chin surgery in addition to nose surgery when the surgeon sees that chin augmentation (technically termed genioplasty) is necessary to achieve facial balance and harmony. Fortunately, this is a relatively simple procedure that can make a major difference.

Are you a candidate?

As with all elective surgery, good health and realistic expectations are prerequisites. It is also important to understand all aspects of the surgery. A pleasing, balanced profile can be achieved by inserting an implant or moving the bone forward to build up a receding chin, or by reducing a jutting or too-prominent chin. The result can be greater facial harmony and an increase in self-confidence.

What is the procedure?

To augment the chin, the surgeon begins by making an incision inside the mouth, where gum and lower lip meet. By gently stretching this tissue, the surgeon creates a space where an implant can be inserted. This implant, made of bone-like material that feels much like natural tissue normally found in the chin, is available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. This allows custom fitting of the implant to the configurations of the patient’s face. After implantation, the surgeon uses fine sutures to close the incision. When the incision is made inside the mouth, scarring is not visible.

What will the recovery period be like after surgery?

Immediately after surgery, the surgeon usually applies a dressing that will remain in place for two to three days. You will experience some tenderness. Postoperative discomfort can be controlled with prescribed medications. Chewing will probably be limited immediately after chin surgery. A liquid and soft food diet may be required for a few days. Most patients feel a stretched, tight sensation after the surgery, but this usually subsides in a few days.

Most of the visible signs of surgery should fade completely within about two weeks. Minor swelling and bruising can be concealed with special camouflage makeup.

Most patients are back to work or school in less than a week. Vigorous physical activity should limited for several weeks, including jogging, bending, heavy housework, sex, or any activity that increases your blood pressure. Prolonged exposure to heat or sun should be limited for several months.

Most patients are pleased with the results of chin augmentation. Often, patients do not realize how much an unbalanced chin contributed to their profile until they see how balanced and harmonious they appear after this procedure.