Genioplasty or Chin Surgery

Chin Surgery or Genioplasty refers to cosmetic surgery operations that aim to improve the appearance of a person's chin, such as by chin reduction (if the chin is too large) or repositioning it (to correct a small or deficient chin). Different types of genioplasty include osseous genioplasty or sliding genioplasty, asymmetric chin point and implant genioplasty. It is an invasive procedure, requiring general anaesthetic. Depending on the type of surgery, the exact process will differ, but generally involves the bone within the chin being broken in a controlled way, allowing it to slide forwards or backwards to be moved into its new position, where it is then fixed into place with screws and metal plates. Surgery is permanent, as the bone fuses into its new position. Genioplasty surgery is not as painful as one might expect, but it does cause some discomfort that is usually worse on the second or third day following the surgery. Post surgery swelling can last for up to two weeks or longer. Genioplasty procedures cost between £3,800 and £6,500, depending on the type of operation and the surgeon.

Background

Genioplasty (Chin Surgery) background information

Genioplasty is a cosmetic surgery that is used to improve the appearance of or reposition a person’s chin. Whilst many facial surgeries focus on the nose and eyes – in fact, rhinoplasty, which is surgery to reshape the nose, is still one of the most popular plastic surgeries available with over 243,000 surgeries taking place in 2011 in the United States alone, many surgeons agree than genioplasty can dramatically improve the profile and overall appearance of a person’s face, as it can have a significant effect on facial symmetry.

Genioplasty dates back hundreds of years, when materials such as paraffin, ivory and methylmethacrylate were used to define the shape of the chin, but modern genioplasty dates back to the 1940s, when bony osteotomy techniques were first used to shape the chin.

Genioplasty is generally used to advance the chin, if it is small or deficient, or to reduce the chin, if it is too large. It can also be used to make the face appear longer or shorter from the front and from the profile. If the lower jaw is deficient, genioplasty can also be used to make it appear longer or more prominent and other surgeries, such as orthognathic (jaw) surgery can also be performed at the same time as a genioplasty surgery to improve the appearance, and in some cases, the function, of the lower jaw and chin. Rhinoplasty can also be performed at the same time as genioplasty in order to improve the appearance of the whole face, if needed.

There are several different types of genioplasty – osseous genioplasty or sliding genioplasty, asymmetric chin point and implant genioplasty.

If you are considering genioplasty, the following information should give you a basic understanding of the procedure. It can’t answer all your questions, since the outcome of the surgery depends on the individual patient and surgeon.

Please ask a surgeon about anything you don’t understand.

How Does It Work?

What is Genioplasty and how does it work?

Genioplasty is a plastic surgery designed to improve the appearance of the chin. It is an invasive procedure, requiring general anaesthetic, meaning that the patient will be put to sleep completely. Depending on whether chin augmentation (lengthening or reshaping) or reduction takes place, the exact process of the surgery will differ, but the general process involves the bone within the chin being broken in a controlled way, allowing it to slide forwards or backwards (or simply to move into its new position) depending on the individual needs of the patient. The bones are then fixed into place with screws and metal plates. The surgery is permanent, as the bone within the chin fuses into its new position. This is in contrast to an implant genioplasty, as the muscles within the chin can move the implant around, which could result in the surgery having to be repeated.

For more information on chin implants, please see our FAQ on Malarplasty Cheek and Chin Facial Implants.

Types

What are the different types of Genioplasty (chin surgery) available?

Osseous or sliding genioplasty
Osseous genioplasty is one of the most common forms of genioplasty, as it is very versatile in that it can be used to either augment or reduce the size of the chin. In osseous genioplasty, the bone of the chin is broken, where it can slide forwards to augment the chin, or backwards to reduce the size of the chin. The bone can also be moved up, to reduce the length of the face, or down to increase the length of the face.

Asymmetric chin point surgery
Asymmetric chin point surgery is a complex form of genioplasty which requires the skills of a highly trained facial cosmetic surgeon that can perform the delicate surgery, but who can also diagnose the underlying conditions that cause the facial problem in the first place. These conditions can vary from dental problems, which if undiagnosed can result in unnecessary surgery, to growth disorders of the jaw.

Pre-Treatment Advice
In your first appointment with a surgeon, you should clearly explain your expectations of the surgery and how you would like to look afterwards.

Careful discussions regarding your reasons for wanting genioplasty surgery are very important at this stage. Make sure that you obtain as much information as necessary to enable you to make a fully informed decision about whether to go ahead with the surgery.

The surgeon should also ask for your medical history to make sure that there are no reasons why you shouldn’t have genioplasty surgery. At this point, you would also normally be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you have understood the future benefits and possible risks associated with the procedure.

Photographs of your chin may also be taken by the practitioner for a “before and after” comparison later.
The surgeon may wish to write to your G.P. giving details of the operation so that if there are any problems associated with it in the short or long-term, the G.P. is aware of the surgery and can help you if you require any further treatment after the operation.

Procedure

What happens during a Genioplasty procedure?

Genioplasty surgery takes place under a general anaesthetic, so you will be put completely to sleep. The surgery then takes place through the inside of your mouth – this means that there will be no scars on the outside of your face.

An incision will be made through the gum on the inside of your lower lip. The surgeon will then use this incision to gain access to the lower jaw bone and chin. The chin bone is then cut with a small saw, enabling the surgeon to break the chin bone in a controlled manner. The bone will then be moved into its new position and fixed into place with small screws and metal plates.

The incision that was made to gain access to the bone will then be sewn up using dissolvable stitches that will disappear within around a fortnight.

Recovery

How long will it take to recover from a Genioplasty (chin surgery) procedure?

In most cases, unless there are complications from the surgery, you will be free to go home on the same day. If the surgery takes place in the afternoon, you will more than likely be free to go home on the following day. Immediately after the operation, your chin will feel swollen and tight. You will also probably feel a little bit groggy following the general anaesthetic.

You can expect some swelling and bruising, although this tends to get a little bit worse on the second or third day following your surgery. Swelling can last for up to two weeks, and although it can persist after this, it is usually not that noticeable. In general, you can get back to your normal regime, including work, around a week after surgery – although this will depend on the type of work you do and how well you feel. You cannot drive or operate heavy machinery for 48 hours following the surgery, due to the general anaesthetic. 

Side Effects and Risks

What are the risks and potential complications from chin surgery?

As with any surgery that uses general anaesthetic, there are risks involved with the anaesthetic. Other side effects and risks of genioplasty surgery include:

• Some pain and discomfort. Genioplasty surgery is not as painful as one might expect, but it does cause some discomfort that is usually worse on the second or third day following the surgery. Any discomfort is usually resolved within a fortnight.
• Swelling is common following genioplasty surgery, as is some bruising, but these side effects are usually resolved within a fortnight.
• Infection is a risk with any surgery, and with genioplasty surgery, you will usually be given intravenous antibiotics whilst you are in the hospital to prevent infection, and you may also be given a course of antibiotics to take home with you. With genioplasty surgery, the screws and metal plates used to fuse the bone into its new position could become infected, meaning that they will have to be replaced. However, if the screws and metal plates become infected, this is not usually apparent until several months after the surgery.
• Bleeding from the incision made during surgery is fairly common, and some oozing from the incision throughout the day following the surgery is to be expected. Significant bleeding is uncommon, but it can usually be rectified at home by applying gentle pressure with either a swab or rolled up handkerchief onto the area for around 10 minutes. If bleeding persists, despite efforts to stem it at home, you should seek immediate medical attention.
• Numbness is a very common side effect of genioplasty surgery, and it is most common on the lower lip and inside the mouth, although it could occur in various places on the chin and lip area. Usually, numbness resolves itself within a few weeks, but in rare cases, numbness can persist for weeks or months. It could also be permanent. However, if numbness is permanent, the brain can usually adapt to the numbness, meaning that the patient stops being aware of the problem after a few months.

Post-Surgery Advice

What should you do after a Genioplasty operation?

It is very important that you follow the advice of your surgeon carefully after the procedure.

Post-surgery advice may include:

• Using painkillers as recommended to treat any pain or discomfort associated with the treatment;
• Using cold compresses as recommended to treat any swelling or bruising associated with the treatment;
• Bathing the inside of the mouth with antiseptic mouthwash, if recommended, to prevent infection associated with the treatment;
• Seeking medical advice immediately if the pain associated with treatment drastically increases, or if the treated area starts to bleed profusely.

Contra-indications

Who should not have a Genioplasty operation?

Genioplasty surgery requires a general anaesthetic, so those who are in ill health or those who have a serious medical problem such as very high blood pressure or angina should not have the procedure. To be an eligible candidate for genioplasty surgery, you should be in good health and have realistic expectations of the outcome of the procedure.

Who Can Do It

Who can perform a chin surgery?

Only fully trained and qualified surgeons should perform a genioplasty procedure.

For more information about practitioner training, qualifications and relevant medical organisations please view the information contained within the Legislation section of the Consulting Room.

Price

What is the average cost of chin surgery?

Genioplasty procedures cost between £3800 and £6500, depending on your surgeon. The cost will also differ depending on how much work is required during the procedure to achieve the desired result.

Conclusion

Summary of advice for chin surgery

A genioplasty procedure is a relatively common procedure that can make a drastic difference to the overall appearance of your face. It can make your chin appear more defined or more petite, but it can also make your whole face appear slightly longer or shorter, or more symmetrical – all of which can really make a difference to the appearance of your whole face.

A genioplasty procedure requires a general anaesthetic, which carries risks, but in the hands of a skilled surgeon there are generally few risks associated with this operation.

Before and After Pictures

Before and after photographs of Genioplasty surgery

Please note that results of cosmetic surgery vary enormously, depending upon both the patient and the skill of the individual surgeon, so outcomes for procedures will always be more variable than those for less invasive non-surgical treatments.

(All before and after photographs featured are real patients treated by highly experienced surgeons, your results may differ). 

Before chin surgery After Genioplasty surgery

Genioplasty (Chin Surgery) Before and after pictures courtesy of Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Mr Christopher Inglefield, BSc, MBBS, FRCS (Plast) at London Bridge Plastic Surgery.