Chin augmentation is a procedure performed to correct a weak or receding chin. Most experts consider it to be very safe, but like all medical procedures, there are some risks and complications patients should be aware of.
Preparing For Chin Augmentation
“The difference between education and an excuse is that education comes before surgery and an excuse comes afterward,” says plastic surgeon Samuel Lam, MD. To avoid excuses, he is careful to review any possible risks and complications of procedures with his patients at Lam Facial Plastics in Dallas in advance.
Your physician should be able to provide the necessary information and answer any questions you may have about chin augmentation prior to the procedure. Although complications are rare, it’s important to be aware of any potential risks.
Possible Risks & Complications of Chin Augmentation
Many individuals who undergo chin augmentation are very satisfied with the results. The risk is minimal and complications are rare, but they can happen. Here is a list of potential complications Dr. Lam warns can occur as a result of chin augmentation:
Because you are working in close proximity to facial nerves, there is a slight chance they could be damaged. Permanent nerve damage is extremely rare, but the mental nerves extend to the chin and lower lip and must be isolated and avoided during the procedure.
Although it’s possible you will feel some tightness in the chin area initially, this should quickly resolve and muscle movement should not be affected. Stretching or disruption of the mentalis muscle can cause the muscle to contract. Care is taken to ensure proper placement of the muscle before closing.
When an outside approach is used, a small incision is made underneath the chin. In most cases this incision line is barely visible, but for patients with a vigorous response to scar tissue, steps should be taken to manage excess scarring.
Men may experience hair loss at the incision site.
Chin implants are typically placed under the covering of the bone, or periosteum. A pocket is created and the implant is slipped into place. Usually, the implant remains securely in position, but some surgeons take extra steps to ensure positioning. “It’s possible that the implant can become malplaced. I sew it to the periosteum of the bone so it can’t move,” says Lam.
To achieve the proper facial balance the implant should be positioned so that the chin is symmetrical. “Sometimes a right handed surgeon can square to the left,” explains Lam. “To prevent this, I always start with the left side and finish on the right.” Most qualified surgeons take steps to make sure the implant is properly positioned and final results are optimal.
Studies have shown chin implants can cause bone erosion by wearing on the bone underneath it. Most of the time erosion is minimal but in very rare cases erosion can be extreme, even reaching the roots of teeth.
Complications Due to Material Used
There are several choices of implant materials. For his patients, Lam prefers silicone implants. Some materials may be more likely to become distorted, prone to slippage or impossible to remove should you ever decide you want to reverse the procedure. Lam does not use Gore-Tex implants because he finds they compress down over time and are difficult to remove. If you have concerns about the material your implant is made of, talk with your physician about the choices available to you.
Complications can occur when the mentalis muscle is not properly closed following placement of the implant. This can lead to chin sag.
Some patients experience lower lip numbness following a chin implant procedure. This numbness is usually self-limiting and will disappear in a few months.
Although complications can occur, most are extremely rare. Chin augmentation is considered a safe, relatively simple procedure that produces very satisfying results. As with any surgery, the skill of the surgeon performing chin augmentation may be the most important factor in achieving the desired results.