What is genioplasty?

Genioplasty describes surgery that alters the shape of the chin. It is possible to make the chin more or less prominent; to alter the vertical height of the chin point, and to correct asymmetry between the left and right-hand side of the chin.

The chin is often evaluated when considering rhinoplasty surgery, as harmony between the prominence of the nose and chin is an important aesthetic relationship.

Genioplasty can be performed relatively simply by moving the bone of the chin, through cuts made in the bone of the lower jaw below the level of the roots of the teeth. The chin is moved into its new position and held in place with small metal plates and screws. This has no effect on the position of the teeth, so that it has no effect on the way a person can eat after surgery. Moving the bony chin in relation to the rest of the jawbone allows changes in chin contour. The incisions for genioplasty are usually made inside the mouth so that there are no visible scars on the face.

It is also possible to augment the chin using implants. There are many different implant materials available for this purpose. Much of the decision making in the choice between moving a person’s own bone and using an implant, will depend on an individuals willingness or unwillingness to have an implant, or bone surgery. Although implant surgery is simpler to perform, the long-term behaviour of implants may not be as predictable. There is the possibility of erosion of the underlying normal bone over time, and a higher risk of infection leading to loss of the implant. Frequently, a small incision in the skin underneath the chin is used to place the implant.

Whilst the majority of surgeons trained in craniofacial surgery would probably prefer to move the patient’s own bone, both techniques have valid roles, and the right decision for any person will only be ascertained during appropriate consultation. Genioplasty planning requires certain x-rays of the jaws for planning purposes to be performed after the initial consultation.

How long will I need to stay in hospital?

Most patients prefer to stay overnight in hospital, as there may be some discomfort after bone surgery. Following implant surgery an overnight stay is not usually necessary. Mr Kirkpatrick will guide you depending on your own particular circumstances.

What is the recovery time from genioplasty?

Most patients are able to go home the following day after surgery. Recovery time depends on whether an implant is used or jaw surgery performed. Immediately after the operation your chin will feel swollen and tight. Swelling and bruising is variable but is generally worse and lasts longer from jaw surgery than from implant surgery. Most of the swelling will disappear after two weeks but there is often some subtle swelling that can take several months to disappear. You will be able to eat normally after genioplasty surgery although soft foods will be more comfortable to eat for the first few days.

How long does genioplasty last?

Each operation has varying longevity, but bone surgery is more permanent and predictable than implant techniques, because of the small risk of implant migration and infection and need for further surgery. Mr Kirkpatrick will be able to guide you as to what you may expect to be achieved.