What is Chin Reconstruction?
Chin reconstruction is a surgical procedure to correct the shape of the chin. It is also known as genioplasty or mentoplasty.
The shape of the chin is determined by the shape of the lower jaw bone and its overlying muscles. A double chin may be caused by looseness of the neck skin, accumulation of fat under the skin, or loosening of the neck muscles.
Some people have an underdeveloped lower jaw while some may have a very prominent lower jaw. Therefore, chin reconstruction is of two main types:
- Chin augmentation, where an underdeveloped chin is made more prominent
- Chin reduction, where the size of a prominent chin is reduced
When is a Chin Reconstruction Procedure required?Chin reconstruction may be needed in the following conditions:
- Following surgery for tumors of the lower jaw
- Inability to speak or bite properly due to a problem with the lower jaw
- Trauma to the lower jaw
- Developmental abnormality of the lower jaw
- Excessively protruding or recessed lower jaw
- Cleft chin or dimple on the chin
How is Surgery for Chin Reconstruction Carried Out?Before chin reconstruction surgery, it is necessary to understand the degree of the problem. Pictures are taken and analyzed for the degree of correction required. The expectations of the surgery should be set before the procedure.
Chin reconstruction surgery is usually done under general anesthesia. Surgery is carried out through the mouth or externally through the skin below the chin. An approach through the mouth is usually preferred since it ensures that there is no external scar because of the surgery.
In chin augmentation surgery, an implant is usually used to enhance the shape of the chin. It is placed in a pocket that is surgically created close to the bone of the lower jaw. In some cases, stitches or screws are used to keep the implant in place. Initially bone grafts were used as implants. However, they tend to get resorbed with time and are more prone to infection. Artificial implants made of material like silicone and polyethylene are now used for the surgery.
For chin reduction, excess bone from the lower jaw is removed during the surgery.
Another method used to treat chin deformities is sliding genioplasty. It can be used for both, chin augmentation as well as chin reduction. In this procedure, lower part of the lower jaw bone is cut and moved forward in case of jaw augmentation or pushed back in case of jaw reduction. The cut piece is kept in position with metal plates and screws.
Injection of fat or liposuction may also be carried out to ensure good chin contour.
How is a Cleft Chin Treated?A cleft chin, which results in a dimple of the chin is often a desired facial feature, especially in males. However, several people may want to remove it surgically. Fillers injected into the soft tissue can temporarily reduce the cleft chin. A more permanent solution is achieved by surgically adjusting the muscles over the chin. Reshaping of the lower jaw bone may be necessary in some cases. The surgery is carried out through the mouth.
What is the Postoperative Care Required Following Chin Reconstruction?Painkillers and antibiotics are prescribed following chin reconstruction. The patient is advised to eat liquid or soft foods, not to smoke and rinse the mouth with antibacterial mouthwash after each meal. Non-absorbable stitches have to be removed in 7 to 10 days following the surgery.
What are the Complications of Chin Reconstruction Surgery?Complications that may occur due to chin reconstruction surgery include the following:
- Bleeding due to injury to a blood vessel
- Injury to nerves of the lower jaw
- Fracture of the lower jaw bone
- Damage to the teeth
- Opening up of the wound
- Mal-positioning of the implant
- Displacement of the implant
- Scar formation, in case the surgery is done externally through the skin. Hair fails to grow in the scarred region of the chin in males
- Drooping of the chin if the lower jaw muscle is not secured properly during surgery
- Dissatisfaction with the outcome
- Complications due to the anesthesia