Who wouldn’t like a nice, well defined chin and jawline? Whether it’s to accentuate your feminine features or enhance the masculine features of your face a chin implant can be a great way to do this. Every plastic surgeon on the planet will describe to you how easy it is to place and implant and show you beautiful airbrushed before after photos they have. Much of what you see and hear is true, but I wanted to briefly go over the complications of chin implant surgery.

Chin implants are typically synthetic materials that are placed not the the anterior and inferior aspects of the mandible via an incision in the mouth or the space under the chin called the submentum. I prefer the external approach with an incision under the chin because I have found it has fewer complications and the healing time is faster and surgical literature would seem support this.

Top 5 worst complications of chin augmentation surgery with synthetic implants:

5. Misplacement or implant mobility. With the exception of MedPor implants silastic or silicone implants to have some pliability so on rare occasions part (usually the lateral wing) of the implant ends up outside of the pocket between the lining of the bone (the periosteum) and the bone itself. This usually is corrected with relative ease and it is NOT prevented with screw fixation of the implant to the mandible.

4. Infection. This is actually low on the list because it’s fairly rare and easily treated. You simply must remove the implant and replace it at some later date after being treated with antibiotics.

3. Implant too big or not recognizing one’s self. Every few years I place an implant that either I or the patient feels is a bit too big with regards to projection or the width of it. This happens and it can be replaced or resized. Another psychological phenomenon I sometimes see is the patient doesn’t recognize themselves. The are fully aware the chin looks good and they have had their goals met…but they just don’t like it. They just don’t recognize the person in the mirror. . .and so they remove it.

2. Hypertrophic scarring or chronic pain. I put both together because they are equally rare and typically are seen in revision cases. Treatment of scarring is another topic but again it is rare. Chronic pain, however, after multiple implants being placed is seen and in my experience is really only improved with removal of the implant.

1. Lower lip numbness. This is the worst in my book for a few reasons. Firstly, it does occur though thankfully less than 5% of the time in most practices. It does not impair movement of the lip but it does create situations where speech and the ability to eat normal is altered in a very negative way. Of all the things I’ve see with chin augmentation surgery patients seem to be most bothered by this. It can linger for a very long time (in some cases permanently) and there’s no good way to treat this issue.

I didn’t mention bruising and swelling or early post operative pain because those are essentially expected. Remember, you just had surgery. We look forward to see you in the office. Just a note there are some revision chin implant surgeries Dr. Lay feels are better handled but oral surgeons and Facial Plastic Surgeons focused in this area. For more information inquire with the office.

Chase Lay MD
Double-Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon