Genioplasty is a type of surgery done on the chin. Both plastic surgeons and maxillofacial surgeons (surgeons who work on the mouth and jaw) can perform this type of surgery.
Genioplasty is most frequently a cosmetic surgery, meaning people choose to have it for looks and not because of a medical problem.
There are two main types of genioplasty: sliding genioplasty and chin implants.
In a sliding genioplasty, a surgeon uses a saw to cut the chin bone away from the rest of the jaw and move it to correct a chin deficiency. This is also called an osseous genioplasty.
This type of genioplasty is recommended for people with severe retrogenia, or people whose chin is too far back in relation to the rest of their face. It can also help with correcting chins that are pushed too far forward and are too long.
Sliding genioplasty surgery
This procedure can take place in a hospital or an office operating room. Most have general anesthesia for the procedure.
To start, your surgeon pulls down your lower lip and cuts on the gum of the lower lip below your bottom teeth. Then the soft tissue is separated from the chin bone. Your surgeon uses a saw to cut a small vertical line in the chin for reference. This ensures the bone stays straight when it’s moved forward or backward.
The doctor then makes a horizontal cut along the chin bone. If you’re getting your chin moved backward or made smaller, your doctor also cuts out a wedge of bone. Then they slide the bone forward or backward and attach screws and possibly a metal plate to ensure it stays in place.
To make your chin longer, they reattach the bone with a gap between the rest of the jaw and the chin. Bone will grow back over time and fill this gap.
To make your chin shorter, they remove the wedge of bone and reattach your chin to the rest of your jaw.
If you’re having your chin moved forward, surgery may create a “step” in the bone. Steps are much more visible in women than in men because of a lack of facial hair. If you have a step, your surgeon may shave some of the bone down to avoid it showing.
Then the incision is stitched closed. Your doctor then puts compression tape on the outside of your mouth and chin to ensure the area is protected during early healing.
Following your surgery, your surgeon will instruct you to take oral antibiotics for two days. Oral stitches are absorbable, so you won’t have to return to the hospital to get them removed.
You may begin eating normally as soon as you feel you’re ready. A liquid or soft-food diet is recommended. You must rinse your mouth with water or antiseptic oral rinse following every meal.
After three to five days, you can remove your wound dressings and compression tape, and return to your daily routine. Don’t exercise for the first 10 days following surgery. Don’t participate in contact sports for six to eight weeks.
You may notice swelling, redness, or bruising, which should go away after a few days.
If you notice any of the following, you should contact your doctor immediately:
fever of 100.4˚F (38˚C) degrees or higher
bruising, redness, or swelling that doesn’t go away within a week
strong-smelling odor coming from the incision
yellow or green discharge
bleeding that can’t be stopped with light pressure