Ask Dr. Burstein: Facial Contouring for the Chin

Double board-certified plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist Dr. Fernando Burstein has spent a lifetime performing cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery procedures ranging from cleft lip and palate repair to aesthetic rhinoplasty and even ear surgery on men and women of all ages.  In our ongoing blog feature, Ask Dr. Burstein, we will have the opportunity to hear him answer some of the most frequently asked questions he receives about facial plastic surgery.

facial plastic surgeon atlant georgiaQUESTION: All my life, I have felt as though I had a weak chin.  It almost seems as though my bottom lip just slopes directly into my neck.  As I have grown older, this issue has come to bother me more and more, and I sometimes feel as though I am taken less seriously, both personally and in my career, because of it.  Are there any facial plastic surgery procedures that are specifically designed to address this problem?  What are my options?

ANSWER: Yes, it is often possible to use facial contouring procedures to augment, or in other cases to minimize, key facial features such as the cheeks, chin, or jaw in order to create a more aesthetically pleasing symmetry to the face. Depending upon the individual patient’s specific needs, there are actually several different options available.  First, a surgical procedure called a sliding genioplasty can improve the appearance of unusually small or recessed chins by cutting the chin bone so that it can be moved forward, potentially adding vertical height as well as projection to the chin.  The area can also be built up with a facial implant.  While many doctors use artificial implants that are prefabricated from an inert material like silicone, I generally prefer to use bone, tissue, and fat taken from other areas of the patient’s own body. This helps avoid allergic reaction, surgical rejection, and the risk of post-operative infection, which ultimately leads to a safer procedure and more natural looking facial plastic surgery results.

It is also important, however, to consider the size and shape of the face as a whole when planning facial contouring procedures.  Rather than focusing on making one significant alteration to a single facial feature, I often find that better results can be achieved by making minor, subtle changes to bring the features into a more natural harmony.  For example, a drastic increase in the size and projection of your chin may look obviously artificial, but if a more subtle change is combined with a cosmetic rhinoplasty procedure to slightly reduce the size of the nose, then the overall aesthetics will be improved while still preserving facial symmetry.  Every face is unique and so every patient deserves a fully customized treatment plan that takes into consideration their individual needs and aesthetic goals.  If you are interested in finding out exactly what facial plastic surgery procedures might be able to do for you, please contact my office so that we can schedule a full consultation.

Dr. Fernando Burstein is a well-respected Atlanta facial plastic surgeon with board certifications in both plastic and reconstructive surgery and otolaryngology (head and neck surgery.)  With nearly thirty years of experience specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery procedures, Dr. Burstein has served as both the chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery and the director of the Center of Craniofacial Disorders at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as well as a clinical professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Emory University.  He has authored and published more than 100 articles and book chapters on facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and has been honored as one of the top plastic surgeons in Atlanta by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., a national organization founded in 1991 to help guide consumers to the highest quality healthcare, for the past eight consecutive years.