Chin reduction

Some people feel unhappy with their chin if it appears excessively long or wide. For others it’s because it protrudes forward from their face and they dislike their profile. Many patients seek chin reduction surgery as they dislike their prominent chin drawing attention away from the rest of the face, or because it gives them a masculine appearance. Chin reduction surgery addresses the beauty and balance of the face and can help to reverse these concerns. Although it is generally considered to be a cosmetic procedure, some men and women and even children undergo chin reduction surgery to correct an array of medical concerns. It is important that if you feel you have a large chin you are properly assessed by a Maxillofacial surgeon who can check to ensure that your bite and jaw relationships are otherwise normal. Sometimes chin surgery alone will not correct your concerns and an full orthognathic approach may be better for you.

What happens during chin reduction surgery?

During chin reduction surgery the chin is either set back to reduce the forward projection of the chin, or bone is removed from the chin to reduce the vertical height, or the width of the chin. Both can be undertaken together if indicated. All of these procedures are performed under a general anaesthetic using a geniolasty approach and removing a bony wedge to reduce the chin. Bone fragments are fixed with very small titanium plates and screws. These usually stay in place forever however once the bone has healed their work is done and if they do need to be removed then it would not affect the outcome of the surgery.

Incisions are made on the inside of the mouth and there should be no external scars. All sutures are dissolving sutures and will disappear on their own at 2-3 weeks following the surgery.

Some tape will be placed on the chin to support the tissues during the healing period; this can be removed 5-7 days following surgery.

Can you shave the chin instead?

A chin shave alone is sometimes indicated when very small amounts of bone need removing or reshaping. This is because the soft tissues can then droop leading to a classic witches chin deformity.

What’s recovery from chin reduction surgery like?

You will need to take 14 days off work to recuperate and you will need to avoid strenuous activities. Everyday activities can usually be resumed after two weeks, although you should avoid contact sports for 6 weeks post-surgery. After 6-8 weeks the recovery process should be complete and you can live life as normal.

A soft diet is advised for the initial 7-10 days following surgery. It is normal for the lip to feel lifted and tight after surgery and talking maybe feel slightly uncomfortable initially until the main swelling has settled.

It should be noted that after chin surgery although most swelling has settled by 4 weeks, it does take up to 1 year for all the residual swelling in the soft tissues to settle and the final nice defined bony contours of the chin to become apparent.

Good oral hygiene with tooth brushing and mouthwash is very important during the healing process to reduce the risk of infection. You will be given antibiotics and painkillers when you leave hospital and you should take these as directed.

What are the risks and complications of chin reduction surgery?

As with all surgical procedures, chin reduction surgery comes with possible risks and complications you must consider before surgery.

Most of these are the same general risks that are associated with surgery such as bleeding, haematoma formation, swelling and bruising, infection and asymmetry. A haematoma may require a return to theatre to explore and if necessary stop further bleeding.

Risks more specific to chin reduction surgery include possible numbness or altered sensation your chin. If the chin is setback sometimes this can lead to increases fullness under the chin, and your surgeon may suggest liposuction of the upper neck to help with this.

Initially you may have some bony contour irregularities at he site of the bone cuts. As the chin reshapes and remodels itself these usually will settle however occasionally may need a small second procedure to help smooth over the area of irregularity.

There is a small risk of soft tissue ptosis – this means that the tissues of the lip can droop and cause either cosmetic problems or functional problems with talking and eating. This is rare and we take specific measures when closing soft tissues to reduce the risk of this happening. It is commoner in patients who have had previous chin surgery. If this is something that we feel you are at risk of this then we may recommend specific soft tissue sutures to try and prevent this.

The Face Surgeons