What Is Genioplasty?

A genioplasty is when you get surgery to alter your chin. You may get this surgery to reconstruct your chin or jaw. Your doctor might suggest a genioplasty if you have problems with your upper airways. Or you may want a genioplasty for esthetic reasons. Genioplasty is typically done by plastic surgeons. 

Why Get a Genioplasty?

When you get a genioplasty it may be for a number of reasons. You can expect your face to look different after the surgery. Genioplasty is meant to balance your lower face. By altering your skeletal, soft tissue, and dental parts of your face, you can change your appearance. 

Your chin is an important feature on your face. Most genioplasties are done for esthetic reasons. You may want your chin altered to look more appealing to yourself. 

Other reasons to get a genioplasty include correcting receding chins, realigning chins, or shaving down chin excess. Genioplasty is more common in older adults who are also getting another cosmetic procedure.

How the Procedure Works

There are two main types of chin surgery. Genioplasty and mentoplasty. Some doctors use the terms interchangeably. Both surgeries aim to reshape your chin.

Chin augmentation. A genioplasty involves altering your chin. This is typically done with chin implants. These implants may be made with silicone or other substances that mimic bone. You and your doctor should talk about what materials you’re comfortable using. Your doctor will make an incision in your lower lip or under the chin. They’ll then reposition your chin bone or put the implant in. 

Chin reduction surgery. This procedure will make your chin smaller or even it out. It's useful if your chin is overly prominent on your face. Your doctor will make the same incisions as for an augmentation, but they'll remove the excess bone instead of adding materials. They’ll then contour your chin to the shape you discussed. 

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What to Expect During Surgery

In most cases, you’ll be put under anesthesia. This is to make sure you can sleep peacefully during the surgery. Your doctor will either make an incision inside your mouth or underneath your chin. The surgery is minimally invasive. 

When you have been under general anesthetic, you’ll need to prepare for someone to drive you home. It may be best to have someone stay with you and help you during the first few days of post-operative recovery. 

By following your surgeon’s recovery instructions, you should heal within a week or two. You can also start adjusting to your new appearance during that time.  

Recovery Process

You will likely be pretty sore after your genioplasty. Your discomfort may get worse even when taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). But the pain will lessen as your face heals. 

After your surgery, your chin may feel swollen and bruised. You should use an ice pack or cold compress and sleep upright for the first few days. This will help reduce your swelling. 

You should also stick to a soft diet for the first few days. Once your chin starts to heal, you can gradually start eating your regular foods. You should still take it easy and not chew a lot of difficult foods. 

During your recovery process, make sure you take your prescribed pain medicine and any other medication until the end, unless your doctor says otherwise. 

Potential Complications

Like any surgery, there are some potential complications you could have after a genioplasty. 

Numbness. You may feel tingly or numb in your bottom lip. This is common after the surgery. However, in some cases, this feeling can last for months. If you experience long-term effects, you should talk to your doctor.

Bleeding. You should expect some bleeding from the site of your incision the night of your surgery. It’s unlikely you’ll have a lot of bleeding. Any bleeding you do have shouldn’t last more than 10 minutes with pressure applied.

Infection. This is uncommon but can happen in rare cases. You could get an infection at your incision site, especially if it’s not kept clean during the healing process. You could also get an infection near the small plates or screws that hold your jaw in place. These plates and screws are permanent but infection isn't likely.  

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Other complications include: 

  • Disappointment with the results
  • Damage to a mental nerve
  • Damage to the root of the tooth

If you are experiencing these complications, you should talk to your doctor immediately. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 02, 2021

Sources

SOURCES:

American Society of Plastic Surgeons: “Chin Surgery.”

BAOMS: “Genioplasty (Chin Surgery).”

Facial Plastic Surgery: “Genioplasty.”

Michigan Medicine: “Chin Surgery (Genioplasty).”

Plastic Reconstructive Surgery: “Minimally Invasive Genioplasty Procedure.”

The PMFA Journal: “Genioplasty.”

Seminars in Plastic Surgery: “Aesthetic Alteration of the Chin.”

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