Chin Augmentation

Taking it on the Chin

As the economy wanes, chinplant surgery soars

A chin sure says a lot about a person. A strong, prominent chin tells the world that you could be President, while a weak chin suggests that the mail room might suit you better. It may sound a bit harsh, but this is precisely why more and more people are having chinplants.

Courtesy of AAFPRS

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, chin augmentation increased 71 percent from 2010 to 2011. Some experts credit this meteoric rise in demand to video-chatting — it's true that looking down while Skyping or FaceTiming may exaggerate any excess fat around your chin (try it, you'll see!). However, most believe the struggling economy has also played a role in the chinplant surge.

Many employees in their 40s or 50s are forced to compete for jobs or promotions with their much-younger counterparts. One way to level the playing field is to look the part. The desire to remain gainfully employed has encouraged many people to seek nips and tucks through various cosmetic procedures, including chin implants. (At about $3,900, this is a sizable investment in your future, and insurance isn't likely to help out if the chin augmentation surgery is purely for cosmetic reasons.)

Thirty Minutes to a New Chin?

Unlike soft tissue fillers — which can also augment a weak chin — chin implants are permanent. To perform the procedure, a surgeon makes a small incision below your chin and inserts the implant. Thirty minutes later and voila! You have the chin of a President. (OK, it's not that easy-breezy, but it is a fairly straightforward surgery.)

There is no one-size-fits-all implant. They come in many sizes, shapes and materials. Sometimes, the surgeon may even cut a piece of bone from your lower jaw and move it forward. This is called a sliding genioplasty, or "chin advancement."

There are no scars if the chin implant is placed via an incision in your mouth, but it can take longer before you can eat normally if you go this route. By contrast, there may be a very small scar if the implant is placed through an incision under your chin. It's a tradeoff.

Chinplant Risks and Recovery

All surgeries have risks, including chin augmentation. Potential issues associated with chin implant surgery include the risk of infection and implant shifting.

Recovery takes time, so keep your chin up. It will be a while before you can eat and chew easily (particularly if the incision was made in your mouth). Your post-chinplant diet will likely include bland, soft foods. (Think Jell-O, and soup and mashed potatoes.) Rinse with salt water, mouth wash or prescription mouthwash to prevent infection. Following your post-op instructions carefully will get you back in the game quicker.

There are no shortcuts. Results are almost immediate, and while implants are designed to last forever, they can be removed if you are unhappy with the look or feel of your new chin.

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    Yael Halaas, MD, FACS

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