One of the most fascinating things about both reconstructive and cosmetic facial plastic surgery is the way that the individual components of the face all work together to create a single, unified whole. The forehead, cheeks, chin, nose, and ears each complement and balance one another, so that even the slightest alteration to a single piece of the facial puzzle can create a profoundly different appearance. One area that plays an extremely important role, but often goes overlooked, is the chin. By subtly sculpting this area with various facial contouring techniques it is possible to correct facial defects and injuries, emphasize or deemphasize the size of the nose, or even give the face a more masculine or feminine appearance. As a board certified plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist; I have worked a great deal with the chins of men and women from around the world. Here are answers to some of the most common questions I am asked about chin surgery.
What exactly can chin surgery accomplish?
Chin reconstruction is typically used to address cases of microgenia or macrogenia, unusually small and unusually large chins respectively, caused by congenital defect, disease, or trauma. However, the chin also plays a major role in overall facial architecture. Altering the size and shape of the chin may magnify or minimize the perceived size of the nose, making chin surgery a useful complement to cosmetic rhinoplasty procedures. Moreover, the appearance of the chin does contribute to how the brain perceives gender, and patients wishing to appear more masculine or feminine often have the chin augmented or reduced as appropriate.
Can a chin be made to appear larger without the use of an artificial implant?
Absolutely! Whenever possible, I actually prefer to use bone, tissue, and fat from the patient’s own body in lieu of artificial facial implants in order to avoid allergic reaction and surgical rejection and to minimize the risk of post-operative infection. In a procedure called osseous genioplasty, a portion of the chin is cut from front to back, separating a horseshoe shaped segment of bone. This portion of the chin can then be moved slightly forwards, increasing the projection of the chin and giving it a firmer, more masculine appearance.
What can I expect during the recovery period after chin surgery?
Every patient is different and individual healing times can often vary a great deal, however it is not unusual for it to take approximately two weeks for swelling to abate and results from chin surgery to be fully evident. Patients can usually return to light activity within a week after surgery, but should wait at least two weeks before resuming heavy lifting or strenuous exercise. As with all plastic surgery procedures, it is important to follow all post-operative instructions carefully and keep all of your scheduled follow-up appointments in order to ensure that your recovery goes as smoothly as possible and that you achieve the best possible facial plastic surgery results.
If you are interested in learning more about chin surgery or would like to discuss what procedures or techniques would be best suited to your specific facial rejuvenation needs, I would welcome you to contact my office and schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to connect with me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.