Chin augmentation can produce dramatic results through what’s normally a relatively minor procedure. According to a report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the procedure increased by a staggering 71% between 2011 and 2012.

The popularity of chin augmentation has many questioning whether the procedure is right for them. So who can benefit from chin augmentation? And is the procedure one you should consider?

Chin Defects

“Some patients are born with a very small chin,” says Samuel Lam, MD, a Dallas-area plastic surgeon. According to Dr. Lam, microgenia, the medical term for an abnormally small chin, is a bony defect that can be associated with both cosmetic and dental issues. “In some cases, the chin is so small, the dental bite is off,” he says.

Patients with a chin malformation that impacts their bite need jawbone advancement, explains Lam. For this reason, patients considering the procedure may be advised to also undergo a dental or orthodontic consultation. If the problem is severe enough, it may even be necessary to lengthen the lower jaw.

Chin Augmentation and Rhinoplasty

Chin augmentation procedures pack a big punch in terms of balancing facial features, particularly the relationship between the chin and the nose.

A small chin can make a prominent nose look even bigger. “I use the example of a glass of water on a television screen,” says Lam. “It’s hard to determine the size of the glass with no reference point, but if you put a shot glass beside it, it looks large in proportion.”

According to Lam, patients considering cosmetic nose surgery may also be candidates for chin augmentation. “Rhinoplasty is a big indication for chin augmentation,” he says.

Cosmetic Indications for Chin Augmentation

Chin augmentation can improve and enhance a patient’s profile. It can make a short neck appear longer, and give men a more masculine appearance.

Since aging is associated with loss of soft tissue mass in the face, Lam, author of the book, Complimentary Fat Grafting, believes those over the age of 35 or 40 can often benefit from fat transfers or fillers without resorting to chin implants. “Bony loss is part of the maturation process, but overwhelmingly it’s fat, tissue mass and collagen rather than bone that causes an aging face to lose volume,” he says.

For those who desire both chin augmentation and a facelift, Lam recommends an extended anatomical chin implant. By doing a facelift at the same time as a chin implant, it’s possible to improve a sagging jawline. The procedure is particularly effective for older individuals who have weak chins and prominent jowls.

Other Considerations

Chin augmentation may be done for cosmetic reasons or to correct congenital defects or damage related to facial trauma. Both men and women considering chin augmentation should be in good health with no serious dental bite issues.

It’s important to discuss the procedure with your surgeon ahead of time to ensure you have a good understanding of the process and that your expectations are reasonable.

Candidates for chin augmentation should seek a qualified, competent plastic surgeon to perform the procedure.