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Mentoplasty is the technical name for surgery that changes the shape of the chin by either moving part of the bone forward or adding an implant (to build up a "weak jaw", called "chin augmentation") or by removing part of the bone (to reduce a "jutting jaw," called "chin reduction"). The procedure results in a more pleasing profile, and often accompanies nose surgery, so that both features are in correct proportion to each other.

What Chin Surgery Can (and Cannot) Do

As with other forms of cosmetic plastic surgery, you need to have a clear and realistic understanding of your motivation and goals for the surgery, and you need to discuss them honestly with your surgeon. Improving your appearance can't solve all of the difficulties that you might face in life, but it may increase your self-confidence as you deal with them.

Before Chin Surgery

During your first consultation, your doctor will ask you about your expectations, your general health and any specific conditions that might interfere with surgery. The doctor will:

  • Examine your facial structure, including skin texture and the underlying bone
  • Discuss how your face can be changed
  • Explain the details of the procedure
  • Develop a plan for surgery and recovery with you

The plan will include which techniques will be used (such as moving the bone or placing an implant for chin augmentation), where to make incisions so they'll be inconspicuous, and the type of anesthesia.

What to Expect

Chin surgery normally lasts from one to several hours and is often an outpatient procedure. More complicated cases can take longer and/or require a short hospital stay. Depending on the surgical plan, you'll be given local or general anesthesia.

  • Local anesthesia means you'll be sedated and the area around the surgery will be numbed. You're awake during the surgery, but relaxed and feeling no pain.
  • General anesthesia means you'll be asleep during the operation.

Types of Chin Surgery

The most common chin surgeries include:

  • Chin augmentation (surgery to change the chin shape, etc.)
  • Chin reduction

Immediately Following Surgery

The dressings usually remain intact for 48-72 hours. The stitches are removed within a week after surgery. You should rest in bed for the first day or two after surgery.

After a Few Weeks

Your chin will feel tender and you'll probably be on a liquid or soft-food diet for several days. You'll probably also have a feeling of tightness or stretching in around your jaw, but this will gradually disappear within a week or so. You should be able to return to work a week to ten days after surgery, though it could be several weeks before you feel completely up to speed, and you'll want to avoid strenuous activity during that time.

Healing is Slow - But Results Are Great

Many people feel depressed for a while after plastic surgery, especially in the early days when their faces are bruised and swollen. This is quite normal and will pass. Healing is gradual and sometimes the final results of the surgery aren't apparent as quickly as you might like. But remember why you chose to have the surgery. If you've met your goals, then your surgery is a success.