When it comes to plastic surgery for facial enhancements, more and more people are turning to chin implants, either as part of facelifts or other procedures — and sometimes just on its own. In fact, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, chin implants — dubbed “chinplants” — are one of the fastest-growing procedures in the country. The number of chinplants has increased nearly 71 percent from 2010 to 2011 alone.

Experts point to a number of reasons behind the sudden growth of this procedure, which has been part of a plastic surgeon’s repertoire for decades. Here are some of the greatest benefits of chin implants.

A chinplant can give you great results on its own, but even more spectacular results when combined with other surgeries.
Younger patients often turn to chin implants to build up a receding chin. “If the face isn’t in balance — for instance, someone with a decent-sized nose and reasonable lips, but a receding chin — the chin can be taken from small to normal to balance the aesthetic of the face,” says Lori Cherup, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon with Radiance Plastic Surgery in Pittsburgh, PA. “A receding or small chin is usually accompanied by a less-than-exciting neckline. So you can tighten the neck muscles and de-fat the neck, or use a rhinoplasty to help put both the nose and chin in proportion.”

For patients over 40, who make up nearly 70 percent of new chin implant recipients, a chinplant can help create a stronger, more youthful face and neckline. “On older patients, a chin implant can make the chin firmer and help stretch out sagging skin,” says Alan Engler, MD, FACS, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City. “It can be used as a component of a facelift if someone’s looking for facial rejuvenation. Sometimes you can get by with just a liposuction under the chin, along with the implant.”

Chinplants give you a big result at a smaller cost.
“You get a lot of bang for the buck, and a lot of benefit for the grief,” says Dr. Engler. “You can achieve dramatic results, and it’s not as expensive as other procedures — which is important, especially in these difficult times.” The average surgeon’s fee for a chin implant is $1,851, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, but with the price for the implant itself and the anesthesiologist, facility fee and other incidentals, expect to pay around $4,000-$5,000 in total for the procedure.

With chin implants, you get a quick result — and a quick recovery.
Patients may feel well enough to head back to work after just a few days following a chin implant procedure, and the residual swelling should be gone within a week. “Recovery time is pretty quick,” says Dr. Cherup. “You might get a little bit of stiffness in the lower lip and swelling, but usually within a short amount of time, it comes back to normal. There’s very little bruising and little discomfort.”

A chin implant’s scars are easily hidden.
The implants are either placed through a small incision right in the crease under the chin, or it can be put in through the mouth, at the bottom of the teeth, so no one will ever see the mark. “If you place it through the mouth, there’s an increased chance of infection,” says Cherup. A course of antibiotics and irrigation of the mouth will help minimize the chances of infection.

There’s very little chance of complications with the chin implant.
There is a minor risk of infection, since you are introducing a foreign item (a silicone implant) into your body. If the implant is placed a millimeter off, or if your surgeon didn’t notice an asymmetry in your chin, it can lead to an uneven look. And in a few cases, the implant will shift to an unnatural position within the chin, whether due to surgeon error, asymmetry in the chin or a problem with the pocket the surgeon created for the implant. In those cases, corrective surgery may be required to fix the problem. In very rare cases, a too-big or spongy implant can interact with the jawbone beneath it, and lead to resorption of the bone, which weakens the bone behind the implant. “The chin implant is on bone right under teeth, and there have been cases of bone reduction in that area — the bone is resorbed and the implant settles into the bone,” Engler says. However, much of the risk of resorption has been removed by forgoing the spongier implants of the past for the firm sili