Are you bothered by a weak chin? Patients often notice issues related the projection of their chin and neck in photographs of their profile. This view can be very disconcerting to patients prompting them to seek treatment. While jaw procedures have been available for some time, technically less demanding procedures have surpassed them in popularity. Jaw surgery is done under general anesthesia, while newer procedures are usually done under local anesthesia. These less invasive procedures have grown due to easier patient recovery, lower risk and reasonable cost.
While a weak chin is intuitively easy to detect and diagnose, the reasons for these findings are more subtle. In general terms, there is consensus that the ideal profile of the face is convex with the upper lip sitting 2 mm in front of the lower lip and the lower lip sitting 2 mm in front of the chin. Other factors to be considered include the chin’s relationship to the cheeks, the nose and the angle between the lip and chin. Finally, the neck and the area under the chin can have a significant impact on the appearance of your profile. Severe dental and jaw deformities with asymmetry are still best treated with a combination of jaw surgery and or braces, but most patients bothered by their chin can benefit significantly from a simpler solution.
Solutions for chin augmentation range from “off-the-shelf” injectable fillers, transfer of your own fat, to placement of a chin implant made out of either silicone or a substance similar to Gortex®. Mild to moderate deficiencies in projection and mild shortages of height can be corrected with these approaches. Injectable fillers like Radiesse® are a good choice for augmenting the chin without any significant downtime and reasonable cost. The downside is that the treatment needs to be repeated annually to maintain the appearance. It can also correct mild asymmetries and irregularities. Fat transfer uses your own fat as a filler with long lasting results, but the nature of the tissue does not allow for very precise augmentation. Despite its limitations, fat transfer is still a good option for patients looking for conservative correction without any foreign substances and minimal scarring. If more definitive correction is desired, placement of a chin implant through either a small incision under the chin or in the mouth can be very effective. This local anesthetic procedure uses various sizes and shapes of implants to achieve the desired result. Recovery from these procedures is typically a week or less and can result in very profound improvement of the profile. While not all patients are candidates for these less invasive approaches, the vast majority of patients can derive a lot of benefit from one of these treatments with very little downtime. Stop “taking-it-on-the-chin” and consider some of the newer options available for this vexing problem.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.