What is the difference between a Genioplasty and a Chin Implant?
Not all patients were endowed with perfect chins. Some are too small, some are crooked, some are too short, some are too long and some are too big! When we conceptualize beauty, we envision balance and proportion. Facial features that are out of balance or proportion catch the eye and disappoint.
The goals of cosmetic surgery are to holistically restore, rejuvenate and to enhance without appearing to have altered anything at all. Results should appear natural and this means that they essentially blend in to the rest of the patients naturally desirable features.
For some surgeons, the only option in their wheel house is to simply place a chin implant. This can be devastating when the patient’s natural chin is crooked, too long or even too big. Sure, with small chins that are symmetrical, chin implants are a wonderful option but they do in fact have certain limitations.
When a patient presents with concerns about their chin they often point to what they see on the outside. Of course soft tissues are supported by the bone underneath and it is important to assess the skeletal substructure with a radiograph so know exactly what you are dealing with. We use 3D Planmeca technology to examine not only the soft tissue with a 3D facial photograph but also examine the bone 3D at the same time. (Image #1). This allows us to exactly understand the how and the why a patient may not like their chin and help us chose the correct option. Weak chins can unfortunately lead to weak necklines and undulating jaw lines. Stronger, enhanced chins can define jawlines and eliminate/reduce neck sagging.
A chin implant is a commonly used, solid silicone implant that comes in various sizes and shapes. (Image #2) For patients who merely desire to see the soft tissue over the chin come forward, they work wonderfully. We use a technique that ensures accurate placement by going inside the lower lip and fixating (tacking) the chin implant to the bone. If the bony chin is irregular and crooked, we can oftentimes adjust the bone by carving it with a bur so that the chin implant lies flat. This technique leaves no scars and the incision heals rapidly. The downside of a chin implant is that it in most instances will not improve the neck line. (Image #3)
However, if the chin is too short, too long, severely crooked or to big, as previously mentioned a chin implant may make things worse! This is where the surgical option of genioplasty is immensely helpful. A genioplasty is a surgical procedure that uses the patient’s own bone (no implant is necessary) to change the shape of the chin. Again, the surgical approach is inside the lower lip and then the chin bone is precisely cut and either brought forward, brought back, shortened or altered to correct an asymmetry. The segments are held into place with extremely thin titanium plates and screws (same material as a dental implant) which almost never is removed and cannot be felt by the patient. Unlike traditional jaw surgery, the patient can eat the next day with no restrictions on chewing.
The major advantage of genioplasty is that as the chin comes forward it drags the soft tissues of the neck with it and dramatically improves the jaw line. If it is indicated to come forward a lot, it may also improve sleeping by opening the airway at the base of the tongue, And of course this is all natural and no implant is required.
Drs. Albert & Michelle Carlotti are Board Certified Maxillofacial Surgeons as well as Cosmetic Surgeons with over 16 years of private practice experience each, they can offer their patients both options where most surgeons are simply not trained to do genioplasty.
So, you are not thrilled with you chin and maybe want a stronger jawline and chiseled neck line? Easy! Come see Drs. Carlotti for a consultation to learn what all your options are so we can help you!