Genioplasty: Overview

Also known as chin surgery

Genioplasty, also known as chin surgery or mentoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery done to change the shape of the chin either by adding an implant to increase the size of the chin or by removing jawbones to reduce the size of the chin. This procedure is often suggested to improve the balance of facial features.

Men have broader chins than women and opt to undergo chin surgery more often. The 2019 statistics report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons showed that 57% of the total procedures were performed on men. People who go for chin surgery often just want to aesthetically improve their appearance.

woman looking in mirror

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What Is Genioplasty?

Reshaping the chin through genioplasty can be accomplished by using chin implants or by repositioning the bone supporting the chin. Many types of implants are available, and they are manufactured from a variety of materials, including silicone or other substances. 

People who want to get chin surgery most commonly go through osseous genioplasty. It is a safe and effective way to reshape the bony structure of the chin. As the name suggests, it involves modifying the skeletal structure of the chin.

Besides osseous genioplasty, there are other types of surgical procedures for reshaping your chin:

  •  Sliding genioplasty
  •  Jumping genioplasty
  •  Reduction genioplasty
  •  Widening genioplasty

Genioplasty is typically performed under general anesthesia, and it's usually done by a plastic surgeon.

Who Gets Genioplasty?

In 2019, a report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons showed that most patients who underwent chin surgery were over 55 years old. Genioplasty is a rather popular procedure, accounting for 39% of all plastic surgery procedures that year. The report also found that 9% of all genioplasty were performed on 13-19-year-olds.

Sliding Genioplasty

Sliding genioplasty is a less invasive procedure usually used to correct a retrusive or misaligned chin. An inverted V shape cut is made from one canine to another on the other side of the teeth. A push-and-pull saw is then used to cut the chin bone away from the rest of the jaw and correct the defect in jaw alignment. The doctor uses a photographic retractor to keep the lips and cheeks out of the way during the procedure.

Jumping Genioplasty

Jumping genioplasty is a surgery where the chin bone is moved both forward and upward. This is performed by making a cut on the lower jaw and bringing that section forward and upward so that the lower edge of the chin lies against the upper region of the lower jaw. The movement of the cut section from the lower jaw upwards gives it the name jumping genioplasty.

Reduction Genioplasty

Reduction genioplasty is done to reduce or remove the excess chin fat on the face. It is also used to reduce the chin for patients who feel their chin is too big. The chin can be moved backward, or it can be made smaller, narrower, or both. Two parallel cuts are made during the procedure, with their width in line with the width of the chin.

Widening Genioplasty

Widening genioplasty is performed to widen a narrow chin. It involves horizontally cutting and dividing the lower end of your chin at the middle. The cut pieces will be widened using a bone graft as a midline divider.

Contraindications

Before getting genioplasty, you’ll need to consider if it is appropriate and safe for you.

People with heart conditions can have chin implants if their doctor says it is fine. Also, if someone recently had a heart surgery, it is advisable that they postpone elective surgeries, including genioplasty, from six weeks to three months so that they can give their heart time to fully recover.

Anyone considering genioplasty should also stop taking certain medications prior to your surgery to avoid interactions with anesthesia during the procedure. The Plastic Surgery Group in America recommends that only acetaminophen products such as Tylenol are used for pain relief before genioplasty.

Potential Risks

Although multiple studies have shown that genioplasty is a safe procedure, some complications can result from this procedure:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Bone loss or displacement
  • Minimal damage to the mental nerve
  • Damage to the apices of the tooth root
  • Failure of metalwork
  • Allergy to implant materials
  • Delayed union of fissure
  • Chin ptosis
  • Lower lip drop

A thorough consultation with your plastic surgeon about your personal medical history can help prevent many of these complications from happening after the procedure. If you experience any other complications besides what's listed above after genioplasty, contact your doctor or seek emergency medical care.

Purpose of Genioplasty

Chin surgery is for those who want to change the shape of their chin to achieve a better facial profile. It can help anyone who want to alter the position, shape, and contour of their chin and those who were born with receding chins, chin misalignment, or chin excess.

Genioplasty is best for patients who are otherwise in good health, without active diseases or serious, pre-existing medical conditions.

A few reasons people may choose to undergo genioplasty include:

  • Correcting misappropriation
  • Correcting congenital malformation of the chin
  • Improving chin definition
  • Reducing or removing the appearance of a double chin

How to Prepare for Genioplasty

People who are planning to undergo chin surgery may take the following steps to prepare:

  • Have your surgeon conduct a complete examination of your face, including the skin and underlying bone
  • Discuss possible risks and complications with your doctor
  • An X-ray may be necessary to determine the proper procedure for you
  • Stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or herbal supplements that thin blood because they increase the risk of bleeding during and after the operation and can potentially lengthen recovery time
  • Quit smoking a few weeks before the surgical procedure because one of the components, Nicotine, constricts your blood vessels, which also prolongs recovery
  • For surgical incisions, your face will need to be washed thoroughly with antibacterial face wash two days before the procedure
  • Avoid eating anything at midnight before the surgery to avoid complications
  • Wear loose clothes on the day the operation to avoid discomfort

What to Expect on the Day of Surgery

On the day of the scheduled genioplasty, you will be given general or local anesthesia with sedatives. Following the sedation, you doctor will make a small cut around the chin. They will proceed to add the implant or bone graft around the chin bone. Finally, the slit is sealed, and the chin is bandaged.

Because most types of genioplasty like sliding genioplasty are outpatient procedures, you can expect it to be done in an hour and discharged once the anesthesia wears off if there are no complications.

Recovery

After your surgery, your doctor will prescribe:

  • Painkillers
  • An antibacterial mouthwash to keep the operated site free from germs and infections
  • An antibiotic for the first five postoperative days

However, these prescriptions may look different depending on the type of chin surgery.

You will need to sleep with your face facing upward and your head raised for one to two weeks after the surgery to protect your chin. Your plastic surgeon may tell you to consume only liquids for one to two days after the surgery. Rigorous chewing may be resumed after three weeks. Always follow the instructions of your doctor.

Generally, after three months or when the swelling has subsided, your chin will have completely healed. Other factors that can affect time to recovery include the general health of the patient, the type of procedure, presence of complications, and the extent of surgical changes.

Long-Term Care

When done by an experienced board-certified cosmetic surgeon, your chin surgery should last throughout your lifetime. How well your genioplasty will turn out and last depends on careful planning prior to the surgery, which can lower the possibility of many complications in the long run. There is usually no long-term maintenance or follow-up surgery required for genioplasty.

This type of cosmetic surgery typically produces predictable results, and the bony and soft tissue stability were generally very good in one study. Avoid things like physical trauma to the chin area because it can affect your surgery and require a replacement.

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Article Sources
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Additional Reading
  • Chin surgery. American Society of Plastic Surgeons

  • Deshpande SN, Munoli AV. Osseous genioplasty: A case series. Indian J Plast Surg. 2011;44(3):414-421.

  • Genioplasty. The PMFA Journal

  • Magee L. Cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures for the face. In: Cash T, ed. Encyclopedia of Body Image and Human Appearance. Academic Press; 2012:350-359.