What Is Chin Augmentation?

Chin augmentation can be performed in isolation, or it can be done as an adjunct to other aesthetic procedures, such as surgical or liquid rhinoplasty, buccal (cheek) fat removal, a face lift, or neck liposuction. Younger patients with small chins may need only chin augmentation to enjoy noticeable and beautiful results. However, in some patients desiring complete facial rejuvenation, chin augmentation may be one component of the total surgical plan. Here’s a quick guide.

What is chin augmentation?

Chin augmentation (also called genioplasty or chin enhancement) refers to a cosmetic procedure of reshaping the chin with either injectable dermal fillers, custom-fitted implants, or boney advancement surgery. These procedures are performed to create a stronger chin and anterior jawline, and the appearance of greater lower-jaw projection. 

What is a chin implant?

A chin implant is a custom-fitted biocompatible implant, usually made of a silicone derivative, that is surgically inserted into the chin over the patient’s bone to create the appearance of a stronger lower jaw and chin. The implant can be placed through either a small submental (neck) incision, or through the mouth with an intraoral incision. I prefer the submental incision, as the skin can be sterilely prepped, whereas it is difficult to sterilize the intraoral bacteria.

It is important to have a dedicated preoperative consultation that looks at the chin and jawline, as they relate to the other facial features. This includes the neck soft tissues, the lips, and the nose. Facial balance and harmony are the keys. There is no “ideal” chin size. For this reason, each individual should be looked at, in order to decide on the best three-dimensional chin size and position.

Because individuals look at themselves primarily from the frontal view, as they’re facing a mirror, they often do not recognize the impact on chin and jawline size and position, on overall facial attractiveness. For this reason, patients rarely ask for chin augmentation. If they looked at more photographs of themselves from the side, many more patients would desire this procedure. It is not coincidental that most models, whether female or male, have strong and defined chins and jawlines. And, it is a little known fact that no United States presidential candidate with a weak chin has ever been elected. 

It is therefore important that the surgeon look at all of the facial features to suggest the best overall plan. It may be slightly reducing the nose and augmenting the chin for better facial balance. In a middle-aged patient who doesn’t like the heaviness of their lower face and neck, it may be augmenting the chin, in conjunction with a neck or lower face lift. Lastly, I see many patients who have weak chins, who get their lips augmented. And too much lip augmentation in a patient with a weak chin, causes an unnatural appearance. In these patients, I suggest augmenting the chin first, and then deciding if the lips need augmentation. 

Can I get chin augmentation without surgery?

Yes. Chin augmentation can be very well performed with injectable fillers. The advantages of fillers are that this can be performed in an office visit without sedation or anesthesia, and the patient is able to drive themselves home. The other advantage of injectable fillers is that they provide three dimensional chin augmentation (projection, length, and widening), in a way that implants cannot fully reproduce. The disadvantage of injectable fillers, is that the results are not permanent, and if the patient likes them, they will need to be reperformed, at some point. However, the advantages of immediate results and three-dimensional correction with injectable fillers are significant. 

Injectable filler augmentation of the chin can be termed “liquid chin augmentation.” In a liquid chin augmentation, filler is injected into and around the chin in order to give the whole lower face a fuller and more lifted appearance. Liquid chin augmentation is temporary, but many clients actually prefer that — it allows them to, in effect, preview the results of what a permanent chin implant may look like before committing to a surgical procedure.

What is a bony advancement surgery?

Bony advancement or bony genioplasty is a procedure performed through an intraoral incision, in which the chin bone is cut with a bone saw and the bone is advanced forward, and then fixed into position, with surgical screws and a plate. I think that it is important to go to a surgeon who can perform these procedures, because boney augmentation works well for patients who need a lot of augmentation. It is also the only procedure that can be performed to contour a chin and make it smaller (macrogenia.) The procedure takes only 30 minutes to complete, but there is a more prolonged downtime, and more interruption of normal intraoral function than with either an injection of fillers, or a surgical chin implant. I feel that it is important to know how to do this procedure for complex chin deformities, or a very large augmentation.

Will a chin implant fix a “double” chin?

The term “double chin” refers to collection of fat or soft tissue just below the chin. It can be the results of loose skin or excess fat and muscle. Chin augmentation with either a filler, an implant, or with boney advancement surgery, stretches the anterior neck skin and usually improves a double chin. However, chin augmentation surgery is often combined with submental liposuction to maximally contour the neck. If the skin of the neck is very loose, and the patient has a small chin, the patient may require a chin procedure, submental liposuction, and and some form of a neck lift to maximally contour the neck skin, and fully alleviate the double chin.

In my comprehensive facial plastic surgery practice, we do all of these procedures and more. But my methodology is always to look for the simplest, most cost-effective, and least invasive way to correct the cosmetic complaint the client has come in about.                                                                                                                                                           

What is the recovery time for a chin implant or liquid chin augmentation?

The recovery time for chin augmentation will depend on the type of procedure you have done. With a liquid chin augmentation — meaning a chin augmentation performed with injectable dermal fillers — there is virtually no recovery time. Patients often go back to work the same day, and any residual bruising or swelling is slight, short-lived, and easily concealable with makeup, if necessary. 

For a chin implant done under local anesthesia with a submental incision, the recovery time is a bit longer, but not by much. With a surgical chin implant, an incision is made just beneath the chin, in the anterior neck skin, and a pocket is made over the patient’s chin, just fitting the size of the implant. Usually, a sizing implant is used before the actual implant is placed, to determine the best size for the patient. Once the sizing implant is placed, and the contour is felt to be good, by the surgeon, an implant of that size is opened, rinsed in antibiotic solution, and placed into the snug pocket. The implant is then sutured to the bone lining, and the wound is closed in a couple of layers to protect the implant. The incision length is very short, and the resulting scar is almost unnoticeable.

So while patients shouldn’t have any visible scars or sutures, they may have more significant swelling and bruising than with a liquid chin augmentation. As a rule of thumb, patients getting chin augmentation with a surgical implant can expect to be mostly healed in about a week. 

Will people be able to tell I have a chin implant?

If you go to an experienced practitioner, who has done many chin implants, then the chin implant should not be noticable. My goal is to have patients go to a social event after surgery and have others say: “Oh wow, you look amazing! What have you been doing?!” — not: “Oh, your chin looks bigger.” 

A well-fitted and placed chin implant should look entirely natural. Some surgeons are far too aggressive with the size and shape of the chin implants they place. This is not only aesthetically obvious, it can also be costly and dangerous if the chin implant migrates to other parts of the face. Always be sure to go to the very best chin augmentation surgeon in your area if you are considering a chin implant. Don’t be shy about asking the surgeon how many procedures they have performed, and to look at before-and-after photos. 

Do I need a chin augmentation plastic surgeon near me?

Patients interested in chin augmentation and other cosmetic facial procedures may wish to travel to a competitive location like Beverly Hills, just to ensure they have the very best in the business working on them. At our practice in Beverly Hills and Sacramento, it is not uncommon for us to have patients flying in from elsewhere for chin implants and all kinds of facial plastic surgeries. Please give us a call, we’d love to speak with you.

Have questions?
Email Dr. Sykes at hello@sykesplasticsurgery.com

About Dr. Jonathan Sykes

Dr. Jonathan Sykes is a world-famous expert plastic surgeon who performs all cosmetic and functional plastic surgery procedures on the face and neck. He is a past president of The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and served on their Board of Directors for over 10 years. He is also a Professor Emeritus in Facial Plastic Surgery from UC Davis Medical Center, and the former Director of Facial Plastic Surgery at that institution.

He is known as the expert’s expert, and is often called to consult and advise other plastic surgeons in both Northern California and Beverly Hills. He has a special interest in eyelid and browlift surgery, facial rejuvenation surgery including facelifts, and rhinoplasty.