What is a genioplasty

A genioplasty is an operation that focuses on changing the appearance of the chin. This can be done with an implant or by repositioning the bones of the chin (i.e. osseous genioplasty).

Why is a genioplasty performed?

A genioplasty is performed to improve the shape, size, or location of the chin. It can be performed in isolation or in combination with other procedures.

Genioplasty is commonly performed as part of facial feminization surgery for cisgender or transgender individuals. It can also be performed as part of facial masculinization surgery for cisgender or transgender individuals. Genioplasty is also commonly performed in combination with orthognathic surgery, since repositioning the teeth can sometimes require repositioning the chin to optimize aesthetic results.

Simulation of microgenia (small chin).
Simulation of chin implant or osseous genioplasty to advance the chin.

What is the difference between a chin implant and osseous genioplasty?

A chin implant can be used in situations where the goal is to augment, or add volume, to the chin. This can be done to increase the width or forward projection of the chin. It is generally performed for people who have a particularly “weak” chin.

An osseous genioplasty provides more opportunities for modifying the chin. It has similar indications as a chin implant but is more versatile. It can be performed for people who have a “weak” or “strong” chin. It can make a chin taller or shorter, wider or narrower. It can move the chin forward or backward. It can be performed with jaw contouring to create a V-line jaw. It can also be used to improve asymmetries of the chin.

How is a chin implant placed?

Chin implants are frequently placed through an incision on the inside of the lower lip. The bone of the chin is exposed and a chin implant is placed on top of the bone to augment the chin. The implants are commonly made of silicone or porous polyethylene (such as Medpor). The incision is then closed after the implant has been placed and positioned. There are multiple shapes of chin implants that can be used depending on the starting shape of the chin and the desired outcome.

Instead of placing an incision within the mouth, some surgeons will make an incision underneath the chin to reduce the risk of infection. The downside is a more visible scar.

This shows a skull with a normal sized chin.
This skull demonstrates one possible manifestation of microgenia (small chin).
A chin implant is placed around the front of the chin for augmentation (enlargement) of the chin.

How is an osseous genioplasty performed?

There are multiple types of osseous genioplasties that can be performed. The simplest involves a single cut that goes across the chin. There is a nerve at the lower part of the chin (mental nerve) that supplies sensation to the lower lip and chin. It is important for this nerve to be protected during the operation. A basic sliding osseous genioplasty is performed by creating a cut through the chin in a fashion similar to the illustrations below.

This cut allows the surgeon to separate the chin from the remainder of the jaw (mandible).

The chin is then free to be positioned in the desired location. It is held into place using plates and screws. Once it is placed into the desired location, additional contouring can be performed to smooth any transition points. With time, bone will grow in the location of the cut, provide long-term healing, and further improve the contour of the cuts.

Skull with microgenia (small chin).
This skull demonstrates where one possible location is for placing the cut to perform an osseous genioplasty.
After the cut through the bone has been performed, the chin is separated from the remainder of the jaw.
After the chin is separated from the jaw, it is repositioned to the desired location.
If necessary, the bone can be contoured to create a smooth jaw. The contour will continue to smooth as the bone heals.

What is a T-shaped genioplasty?

A T-shaped genioplasty is a type of osseous genioplasty that is used to reduce both height and width of the chin.

As with all osseous genioplasties, the soft tissues of the chin are separated from the bone of the chin. The cuts in the bone are then designed in the shape of a T. The horizontal cuts allow the height of the chin to be reduced. The vertical cuts in the bone allow the width of the chin to be reduced. The reduction is performed by removing the middle segment of bone from the vertical and horizontal segments.

A T-shaped genioplasty is often used for a wide, tall chin.
The T-genioplasty is designed to reduce the height and width of the chin.
After the cuts are made, the bone is removed to reduce the size of the chin.
After the cuts are made for the T-genioplasty and the bone is removed, the segments of the chin are repositioned and secured into place.
Sometimes, additional contouring of the mandible is required to create a smooth jaw contour.

What is the recovery after a genioplasty?

It is generally recommended to take a week off work to allow for recovery. Complete recovery takes roughly one month and there may be residual swelling that lasts up to 1 year following the operation.

Sutures are placed at the end of the procedure, and these will take multiple weeks to dissolve on their own.

There will likely be swelling and bruising following the procedure. A compressive dressing is usually applied at the end of the procedure that assists with swelling.

A chin implant generally has a faster, less painful recovery since less surgical manipulation of the chin is required in comparison to an osseous genioplasty.

Due to manipulation around the mental nerve, it is common for patients to have numbness of the lower lip immediately after the operation that improves over time.

Tooth brushing may begin immediately following the operation, but patients should be particularly careful with the front, lower teeth to prevent putting pressure on the incision.

Patients may begin eating immediately following a genioplasty, but they should limit themselves to soft foods at first to prevent disruption of the incision.

How much does a genioplasty cost?

Osseous genioplasties are generally more expensive than genioplasties that use only an implant. The cost often depends on whether additional procedures are being performed along with the genioplasty and whether insurance is covering the procedure.

What are the risks of a genioplasty?

One of the greatest risks is injury to the nerves (mental nerves) that supply sensation to the lower lip. Other infrequent complications include opening of the incision, infection of the implant or hardware (plates and screws), incorrect positioning of the chin, or chin ptosis (droopiness of the soft tissue of the chin).

A risk specific to chin implants is gradual erosion of the bone underneath the implant, resulting in loss of projection of the chin. If the chin is not secured during the operation, there is a possibility that the implant will be slightly mobile even after complete healing.

A risk specific to the osseous genioplasty is incomplete healing of the cut through the bones of the chin.

Should I get a chin implant or have an osseous genioplasty?

This is a complicated question that has many individualized factors.

A chin implant can be the right decision for somebody who needs only augmentation (increase in length, height, or width) and is interested in a quick recovery and lower cost.

An osseous genioplasty is necessary for individuals who need reduction of the chin in a vertical or horizontal dimension. It is also necessary for patients who need the chin moved backward. For patients who need chin augmentation and want to minimize foreign material in their body, the osseous genioplasty is the right decision.

Can you perform a simulation of a genioplasty?

We will be able to perform a photo simulation of a genioplasty at the time of your consultation. Certain modifications of the chin (e.g. advancement or setback) are easier to simulate than others.

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