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Chin Sculpting

One of the most common complaints patients mention is a receding chin line.  In profile, the chin should extend out as far as the lower lips projects to provide the best balance.  In those born with a receding chin, correction allows a better balance and proportion of facial features.  In some cases, chin lines that were otherwise acceptable before the aging process began may later appear to recede more than desired. 

Correcting chin line imbalance can often be achieved by placing a biocompatible implant into the chin to extend it outward and give it a fuller appearance.  When the chin structure requires a more aggressive change, Dr. Sykes performs a procedure called a sliding genioplasty, with or without including a chin implant.  During sliding genioplasty surgery, the doctor cuts the chin section away from the jaw bone and repositions it, using metal plates and screws to hold the existing bone in place while new bone forms to create the desired shape.  As a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, both Dr. Sykes has received extensive training and performed sliding genioplasty surgeries for patients with birth defects, trauma-related malformations, and reconstruction following cancer surgery, in addition to aesthetic procedures.  Dr. Sykes is considered one the leading experts on chin surgeries and is a frequent lecturer to facial surgeons around the world. 

Where only minor correction is needed or in cases of asymmetry (one side of the chin is fuller than the other), an injectable filler or fat transfer may offer the best solution.  Facial liposuction or a face lift may also be recommended when the chin line loses definition due to sagging skin or fat deposits beneath the jaw line. 

In your case
Dr. Sykes will talk with you to determine what issues brought you in for a consultation.  By examining your facial structure, he can determine whether an injectable filler, fat transfer, chin implant or sliding genioplasty alone or combined with another procedure will correct your concern.  In some cases, another procedure may correct the issue without the need to address the chin directly.  The doctor will provide a recommendation based on his experience working with countless patients ranging from children through adults.  There is sometimes more than one way to achieve your desired result and the doctor will discuss the pros and cons of each alternative so that you can decide the approach you prefer. 

What to expect
If you and your doctor determine that a chin implant is the best approach, you will be placed under a light sedation so you don’t feel anything during the procedure.  The doctor will then make an incision, typically within the mouth.  The surgeon then creates a pocket between muscle layers and places the implant into the space.  Even when the incision is within the mouth, they will place a dressing over the chin to hold the implant in place as healing begins and help minimize swelling.  Most patients experience swelling and bruising radiating out from the chin in each direction. Each patient experiences swelling and bruising differently, but swelling typically diminishes within a week, while bruising gradually fades over about two weeks.

A sliding genioplasty is more extensive and may involve more than one surgery to gradually reposition the chin or may require expansion of the chin and jaw width as well as the chin length.  Many patients also have chin and/or jaw implants placed or cartilage added to supplement the bone repositioning.  During surgery, the doctor separates the   chin section of the jaw bone, moving it out to the proper position and fixing it in place with metal plates and screws.  The chin is wrapped and held in position and patients must eat a soft diet and rinse often with mild salt water to speed recovery time.  

Whether you have a chin implant, sliding genioplasty surgery, or both, you can expect to be surprised how much realigning your chin will contribute to improving the balance, proportion and harmony of your facial features.  Though the aging process can change your chin’s appearance, your profile alignment of forehead, mouth and chin will remain permanently balanced. 

Chin Implant Fast Facts
The following are general guidelines only.  Variations are common. To learn about the various fillers available, please visit the Injectable Fillers section of this Web site.

Surgery length:

About one hour


Office or hospital outpatient surgery suite


Light sedation, patient is asleep during surgery


None, sutures are placed within the mouth

Pain & discomfort:

Mild but noticeable pain for 48 to 72 hours, typically requiring pain medication for a few days.  Ice packs and a soft diet help speed recovery.   

Swelling & bruising:

Moderate, generally peaking by day three.  Bruising typically fades in 10 to 14 days.  

Suture removal:

Dissolvable sutures are commonly used, requiring no removal.

Return to work:

One to two weeks

Resume exercise:

Two weeks for gentle exercise, six weeks for strenuous exercise

Initial results:

Immediate, once swelling diminishes 

Final results:  

Within a few weeks


Permanent, affected by ongoing aging



Jonathan M. Sykes, MD
Professor/Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
UCDavis Medical Group
2521 Stockton Blvd., Suite 6206
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-2347
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