Genioplasty is a specific type of chin surgery. It is intended to augment, or enlarge, the chin. Patients who would rather reduce the chin would consider a similar procedure called mentoplasty. Genioplasty is typically performed to evenly balance the proportions of facial features. This type of surgery may also be referred to as chin repositioning.
Ideal candidates for genioplasty are patients who have realistic expectations about the possible results of the surgery. Candidates should also be in good general health and have no serious medical conditions. Patients who smoke, have recently quit smoking, or who are often exposed to smoke may not be good candidates for the surgery. Smoke exposure, which reduces blood circulation, may lead to complications such as infection, slow wound healing, and scarring.
Before undergoing genioplasty, patients should thoroughly consider the required preparation for the surgery. General anesthesia is typically used, so the patient will need someone to take him home after the surgery. The patient should disclose all medications and medical conditions to the surgeon. He may need to stop taking certain medications before the surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding. The surgeon will also provide instructions regarding eating and drinking prior to the surgery.
Genioplasty can be performed with two different methods. One method is to use a chin implant to augment the chin. The other technique advances the patient’s own bone structure.
Chin augmentation by implant can use two possible incision areas — under the chin itself or inside the mouth, under the lower lip. A 'pocket' is created and the implant is placed inside. The surgeon will use sutures to close the incision.
An incision to advance the patient’s bone is usually made inside the mouth, below the lower lip. The surgeon will use a special surgical tool called a powered saw to separate the chin bone. He can then manipulate the bone forward, using either bone plates and screws or wires to keep it in place. After positioning the bone, the surgeon can close the incision.
Patients undergoing genioplasty should plan on resting for about a week after the surgery, before resuming their routine schedule. The surgeon will typically prescribe pain medications. Aspirin and smoking should be avoided. Patients should also refrain from consuming alcohol for at least three weeks, because this may result in fluid retention. Swelling and discoloration in the area may persist for a few weeks.
Every surgery carries possible risks and complications. Infections and the formation of scar tissue are among these. Patients may also notice numbness in the area, which is usually temporary. Complications from a genioplasty are generally rare.