Jaw Augmentation

Building a Better Jaw Line: Implants vs. Fillers

Like a strong chin, a well-defined jaw tells the world that you mean business. What man wouldn't want the kind of jaw that makes the ladies swoon for guys like Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, David Beckham or Jon Hamm?

And it's not just men making noise about jaw augmentation. Women, too, may crave a wider, more angled jaw to help balance the lower third of their face.

Whereas chin implants are all about projection, jaw augmentation is performed to widen and sculpt the jaw, creating a more angled look. A weak, ill-defined jaw blends with the neck, sloping downward instead of angling outward.

Courtesy of AAFPRS

Jaw-dropping Effects of Age

You may be happy with the look of your jaw well into your 40s, but things may change as you embrace your second act. All bones can become brittle as we age, including facial bones. Jaw length and jaw height can decrease as a result of this natural age-related bone loss. Since the jaw is the anchor of the lower face, any such changes will affect the whole picture.

Sound familiar? If so, you have two main augmentation options. Mandibular (jaw) implants or injections of soft tissue fillers can both help balance or define a weak jaw line.

Jaw Implants Versus Injections

A jaw implant requires a more invasive procedure than soft tissue filler injection. Your surgeon makes a small incision inside your mouth and carves out a pocket where the implant will be placed. The incision is closed with stitches and the results are immediate; but it does take time for any swelling and bruising to abate.

Jaw implants are typically made of silicone, though other biologic materials may also be used. They offer a more permanent fix than soft tissue filler injections, but this comes with a higher price, a longer recovery and more risks.

Whereas jaw implant surgery takes one to two hours to complete, injections take a mere 30 minutes. You can step right back into your life after injections, but you will be sidelined for a while if you choose jaw implants. For example, you will be bandaged and it can be difficult to chew and speak in the week after jaw augmentation. Your mouth may feel numb (like it does following a dental procedure) after implant surgery. Other risks include bleeding, infection and the chance the implant could shift (which would require another surgery). You also may find that the results are not quite as jaw-dropping as you had hoped. Experimenting with soft tissue fillers to augment your jawline can help you "try-on" a new jaw before you buy it. Hyaluronic acid-based fillers such as Restylane, Perlane and Juvederm, or fat injections, may be used to sculpt or re-shape the jaw area.

Weighing the Costs

And then there's the cost. Jaw implant surgery costs about $2,000 to $4,000 depending on the location of the practice and whether or not you are having any other procedures done at the same time. If your jaw surgery is considered cosmetic, your insurance likely won't help you pay the bill.

The cost of fillers depends largely on which one you choose and how many vials are needed. Hyaluronic-acid based fillers cost about $450 to $600 per syringe, and two may be needed for jaw augmentation. The results are not permanent, so if you like the look, you will have to pay up again and again to keep up appearances.

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    Yael Halaas, MD, FACS

    60 E. 56th Street
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    New York, NY 10022
    (332) 239-6439

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    Mune Gowda, MD

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    Sean Maguire, MD

    Physician's Center for Beauty
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    Louisville, KY 40207
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