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Chin Implants

The chin has a prominent role in establishing facial symmetry and aesthetics. With the nose, it can determine facial balance, especially through its relationship to the face in profile. Surgeons have recognized this for many years, and combination procedures involving rhinoplasty and genioplasty are common. The chin defines the character of the face and, perhaps, the person; a long chin has been associated with strength and power, whereas a short chin portrays weakness.

What it is

Also called chin enhancement surgery or genioplasty, this procedure can address a recessed or weak chin (microgenia), bringing better balance to facial features. It can also correct a double chin that’s caused by a small chin bone.

Chin or jaw implants are usually made of silicone, but some doctors use Gore-Tex, Teflon, or even biological materials. 

What It Does

 

In chin implant surgery, a sculpted piece of material is inserted in your chin, then molded around your chin bone to increase the size and improve the definition of your chin and jawline. The surgeon might also reshape or move your natural chin bone to achieve the look you want. 

Types

  • Silicone - Silicone chin Implants are one of the most commonly used implants for chin augmentation. They are soft, smooth, flexible and come in different shapes and sizes. They do not incorporate (stick) to the surrounding tissues, so the pocket must be made precisely. They usually stay in place, but may move, buckle and cause bone resorption where they contact the mandible in some cases. Since they are smooth, they can also be removed easily.

  • Polyethylene - Polyethylene chin implants, brand name Medpor, are hard, porous, slightly flexible and come in various shapes and sizes. The do incorporate, as the surrounding tissues can grow into the pores of the material. This fixes the polyethylene chin implants in place, and provides a blood supply to help prevent infection. It also makes these implants much more difficult to remove.

  • Polytetrafluoroethylene - Polytetrafluoroethylene, brand name Gore-Tex, is used in plastic surgery and other operations is known by an abbreviation of its chemical name, ePTFE (expanded polytetrafluoroethylene) or Gore S.A.M. (subcutaneous augmentation material).[10] Because ePTFE is flexible and soft but very strong, it is inserted during operations in trimmed sheets and carved blocks and held to the bone by titanium screws. But because the material is porous, the force that really holds the implant in place is soft tissue and bone growing through and into the implant.

The above artificial materials are used in medicine because they are biocompatible and have a low incidence of causing problems inside the human body. They are abundant, FDA cleared and can be used "off-the-shelf", without a donor site injury to the recipient.

  • Acellular dermal matrix - ADMs are another chin augmentation implant material. Commercially known as AlloDerm and known to physicians as the acellular human cadaveric dermis, AlloDerm comes from tissue donors Just after death, technicians remove a layer of skin, remove the epidermis, and treat the remaining dermis with antibiotics and other substances to remove the donor's cells and DNA that would cause rejection. The graft that emerges is often used to cover chin implants.

  • Other implant materials include Supramid, a braided nonabsorbable synthetic suture material in polymer shell and Mersiline, a mesh-like material that provides a scaffold on the bone.

Cost

The average cost of cheek implants is between $4,000 to $11,000.

What you pay will depend on the type of implant used, your surgeon’s location and level of experience, and whether you have local or general anesthetic. Confirm with your surgeon what’s included in the price you’re quoted.

Your surgery will also cost more if it’s performed in conjunction with other procedures, such as neck liposuction.

Because a chin implant is a cosmetic procedure, it’s unlikely that insurance will cover the cost.

Procedure

Generally, chin augmentation is done as an outpatient procedure, but some surgeons perform it in a hospital. This procedure requires a local anesthetic, often with IV sedation, but some doctors prefer a general anesthetic for more complex surgeries. 

First, the doctor makes a small incision under the chin or inside the mouth so that the scar won’t be too noticeable. The surgeon then creates a pocket to insert the implant and molds it around the chin bone. Some patients with very small chins may need to have their jawbone cut and moved to make space for the implant, which gets attached to the bone with stitches or screws. 

Once the implant is secured, the surgeon sutures the incision and bandages the chin. 

After the procedure

  • The recovery phase for facial implants varies from patient to patient. Most patients can return to work or play in 1-2 weeks. Further healing changes occur for 6-12 weeks.

  • Changes are noticeable almost immediately, however the final result will be covered by the initial stages of swelling and bruising.

  • Facial movements may be restricted temporarily and it is important to avoid any excessive force or contact with the site of surgery during the recovery phase.

  • Dissolvable stitches are commonly used, otherwise sutures are removed within 2 weeks of the procedure.

What Can Go Wrong

  • The implant shifting from its original location,

  • The implant eroding into the roots of the anterior teeth,

  • Squaring of the chin which in females, in particular, can have an undesired masculinizing effect 

  • Damage to the marginal mandibular nerve — leading to permanent loss of movement in the lower lip

  • Damage to the mental nerve (a sensory nerve which provides sensation to the front of the chin and lower lip as well as the buccal gingivae of the mandibular anterior teeth and the premolars)

  • Implant is placed in the superficial tissues — not under the periosteum (the dense layer of vascular connective tissue enveloping the bones) leading to implant movement under the skin

  • The wrong sized chin implant is used resulting in a chin looks out of sync or inharmonious with other facial features

  • Injury or damage to the teeth, gums, or surrounding nerves

  • Permanent loss of sensation, and/or scarring.

  • Slow healing, infection, or internal bleeding leading to removal of implant

  • Inadvertent masculinization of the female chin

  • Unsightly deepening of the labiomental crease (the deep groove underneath the lower lip)

Side Effects

As with any surgery, there are risks associated with chin implant surgery.  Some of the risks associated with all surgeries include:

  • Bleeding

  • Brusing

  • Haematoma

  • Infection

  • Scarring

  • Swelling


Some of the risks that are specifically associated with chin implant surgery include:

  • Asymmetrical results, which is characterized by an uneven appearance of the chin.  This may occur when the tissue heals at differing rates and may require additional surgeries to correct.

  • Capsular contracture, which is a rare complication characterized by the scar tissue tightening around the implant.  The condition can be painful and cause distortion of the chin, requiring additional surgery to correct.

  • Change in sensation, including reduced sensitivity in the area, which should return to normal within a few months

  • Movement or shifting of the chin implant, which requires an additional surgery to correct

  • Rejection of the implant by the body's immune system

  • Rupturing of the implants, though rare, may occur and requires additional surgeries to correct

In order to reduce the possibility of experiencing side effects following chin implant surgery, it is important to take antibiotics as prescribed and to take care to avoid aggravating the area. 

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • An unusual heart rate

  • Severe new eye pain

  • Bleeding

  • Vision problems

Long Term Results

Implant results will be semi-permanent if human tissue is used because the tissue will age. The result will be permanent if synthetic implants such as silicone or polythene are used.