Chin Augmentation & Cheek Implants
One of the most defining features of our face is the chin. It shapes and determines the appearance of the bottom one-third of the entire face. When the chin is weak, or underprojecting, it can cause this lower third to appear as if it dissapears into the neck. It can also make the lower third look longer, or more drawn, and can cause the neck to have less definition. Even subtle changes to the chin make major improvements in these areas, as demonstrated below.
*Results May Vary
The chin is composed of the lower jaw bone, called the mandible, and the muscles that insert on this bone. Since the 1950’s, proper relationships between the position of the tip of the nose, the upper and lower lips, and the chin have been studied. While generalizations exist, in reality, each patient has a relationship that is best for them. When a patient comes in to the office to discuss a chin augmentation procedure, a three dimensional image of their face is taken using a Vectra Imaging System, and variations to the shape and appearance of the chin are performed to help Dr. Cross and each patient decide together what end result is most desired by the individual patient. As shown below, the planned result is very precisely reproduced in the actual final result.
Planned result as simulated on the Vectra Imaging System
Actual result showing an accurate reproduction of the planned simulation. *Results May Vary
For many patients with weak or under projecting chins, the proportions of the nose are out of balance as well. When appropriate, issues with the nose are identified and corrected simultaneously with treatment of the chin.
A chin augmentation can be performed using either an implant, or, in some cases, a patient’s own fat. Known as autologous fat grafting, fat can be taken from another part of the body, cleaned, and placed in the chin region. For mild to moderate chin augmentations, or for patients who desire a correction to underprojection without the use of an implant, fat grafting is an excellent option. The procedure requires no incisions and is performed in less than an hour.
For patients who want or need a more significant correction, an implant is often used. Traditionally, silicon chin implants have been used by a majority of facial surgeons. While they are an effective option, complications such as silicon erosion into the bone, implant malposition over time, or infect can occur. For the majority of patients, Dr. Cross uses a material known as Medpor. This material has been used for skull reconstruction for years. It becomes connected to the body, making it very stable and resistant to erosion, malposition, or infection.
The procedure can be performed either through a small incision inside the mouth, or through a thumb nail width incision that is hidden under the chin. For most patients, an incision under then chin is a better option. It is a more precise way of placing the implant, it avoids injury to nerves of the lip, and keep the surgery out of the dirty environment of the mouth.
Regardless of the technique used, chin augmentation procedures take around one hour. Patients are able to go home the day of the procedure with very little pain and no restrictions on normal activity. Exercising can begin immediately. Sports that require the use of a chin strap must be avoided for 3 weeks. Patients will often experience swelling that can be noticeable for around one week, and often numbness to the lip and chin region that lasts a couple of week. Minimal to no pain medicine is typically used after the procedure.