Chin Implants on the Rise

About Jeanine Hernandez

Jeanine Hernandez is a high school senior attending Notre Dame Academy in Los Angeles, California. Jeanine has volunteer experience at the Los Angeles Pug Rescue and at the LAC+USC Medical Center. She is also the director of Nativity Catholic School's junior high decathlon team. Jeanine researched and wrote this article as part of the Medical Scholars Program through the Osborne Head and Neck Foundation.

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About Dr. Jason Hamilton

Jason S. Hamilton, M.D. is the Director of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for the Osborne Head and Neck Institute based at Cedar-Sinai Medical Towers. Dr. Hamilton has advanced training in plastic and reconstructive surgical techniques involving the face, head, and neck, and limits his practice to the treatment of these areas exclusively.

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Although more popular in other parts of the world, augmentation mentoplasty (chin implants) is becoming increasingly popular for both men and women in the United States. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, chin augmentation popularity has grown 71% since 2010; more than all the other cosmetic surgeries combined. Some hypothesize that the growing use of social media and technologies like Skype have had a negative impact on individuals’ self-image.

Most of the people that undergo augmentation mentoplasty are in their 40’s. This is because the chin is one of the first things to fall naturally due to aging, this happens because fat tends to accumulate in that area. Women can get a chin reduction when they have a large chin and want to appear more feminine. On the other hand, men may get a chin augmentation to appear more masculine and get a stronger jawline.

Figure 1: Illustrations depicting the chin, otherwise known as the mental region.


Why are chins so important to facial aesthetics?

The chin plays an important role in creating balanced facial characteristics. Chin size is determined by hormones in the face that are released during puberty. Being located on the lower third of your face, it can either draw too much attention to itself or draw attention to other features on your face. A “weak” or underdeveloped chin can draw attention to your nose making it appear larger, while, a large chin may disrupt the balance of your other facial features.

Non-surgical Options

If someone wants to enlarge their chin but is unsure about a permanent procedure, there are non-surgical options, likely fillers. An example would be to get a cosmetic dermal injection called Radiesse which adds volume to the chin. For this procedure, the patient can be fully awake and although the results aren’t permanent, they can last for months.

Augmentation Mentoplasty (Chin implants)

When someone has an underdeveloped chin, they may opt for an augmentation mentoplasty, which will enlarge the chin and make the jawline more prominent. This usually involves making an incision in the mouth or under the chin with minimal scarring. The doctor can also take bone from the patient’s hip and/or cartilage from their ribs to reconstruct a portion of the chin. If this is required, a separate surgery must be done in order to harvest the implant materials which is why this method is not routinely used. Another option involves implantation of a soft medical grade silicone implant which is synthetic but feels and appears natural. The silicon is custom made to enhance the patient’s appearance. Bone from the patient’s chin can be modified to create a slot for their silicone implant. In some cases, people need to correct the position of their jaw and teeth before receiving chin implants.

Chin Reduction

Chin reduction surgery is the opposite of chin augmentation; it reduces the size of a prominent chin. It is more challenging to get a good result and the risk of complications is higher. Most of the time, a prominent chin is not just a bone problem but can be caused by too much muscle and skin. Most chin reductions are done from a submental approach. This makes it easier to remove excess skin and muscle. The procedure can take between 1 and 3 hours. It can take some time to appreciate the final results due to the swelling associated with chin reduction surgery. The average time to see the full reduction effect is approximately 6 weeks.

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