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Chin implants – are they right for me?

Cosmetic Surgery of the face

People in western culture think highly of a strong jaw line, which is associated with powerful personality traits. Chin implants can be used to counteract the effects of a weak or receding chin, giving a stronger, more defined jaw line and balancing the other facial features. Cosmetic reasons aside, chin implants can also be used as part of reconstructive plastic surgery to repair damage sustained in an accident or during cancer treatment.


Deciding whether cosmetic chin implants are suitable for you involves reflecting on how much distress your current chin and jaw shape is causing you. It is a good idea to look in detail at what the procedure involves and to get advice and information so you can think carefully about the risks involved.


What is chin implant surgery?

A chin implant operation involves the insertion of a silicone implant underneath the skin of the chin, via a tiny incision made inside your mouth or externally in the crease just below your chin. The size and shape of the implant is chosen by your surgeon, who uses his or her experience to decide what will best suit your facial features. Once the chin implant is in place, the incision is closed and there is very little, if any visible scar.


What can chin implants achieve?

A weak chin may create a distorted facial appearance. For example, a weak jaw line may make a normal nose look big and a larger nose look larger still. Chin implants can play a role in bringing harmony to the overall look of the face and they can also improve the look of your neckline. Chin implants usually produce a completely natural look; people may notice that you look better, but they will rarely know why.


Considering a chin implant?

Chin implants are not recommended until the chin bones have finished growing, so chin implant surgery should not be done until you are at least 18.


Although it is a relatively minor surgery, you will still need to be in good physical and emotional health and this is something that your surgeon will check carefully beforehand.


The surgery takes between one and two hours and you will need to be physically fit enough to undergo general anaesthetic or sedation without an increased risk of complications. Your weight, general fitness, blood pressure and medical history will all be taken into account to assess your risk level and decide if this is acceptable.


Since the vast majority of chin implants are done for the emotional and psychological benefit of the patient rather than out of medical necessity, your emotional state will also need to be considered. It can be quite traumatic to change the way you look and evidence shows that the older you are, the less likely it is that you will be pleased with the outcome.


Chin implants can’t work miracles!

If you go ahead assuming that chin implants are the answer to all of your problems, you will be disappointed. When considering whether chin implants are right for you, you need to keep your feet on the ground. To have the best chance of being happy with the outcome, you need to have realistic expectations.


Your surgeon will help you get a realistic idea of what chin implants can achieve by showing you photographs of other patients who have had this type of surgery. You should also research the procedure online to find out as much as you can. If possible, see if you can talk to someone who has had chin implants so that you gain an insight into their personal experience.


Remember that while a weak jaw line may make you feel self-conscious, chin implants will not automatically cure all your emotional and social issues and you should not expect too much from the surgery. With a sensible attitidute, cosmetic surgery can give you confidence to help you overcome these problems. Your surgeon will discuss these issues and implications with you and may suggest you speak with a professional counsellor before you proceed.


The financial cost of chin implants

A final factor to consider when assessing whether chin implant surgery is right for you is the cost implication. Chin implants cost thousands of pounds and you will need to be off work at least a week following the procedure. You may not be able to take this as sick leave and may have to use holidays or take the time unpaid.


Are there risks associated with chin implants?

Chin implants involved relatively minor surgery that is fairly low risk. However, the operation is not risk-free and you should consider what can go wrong when deciding if chin implants are right for you.


The success of your surgery will depend on the skill and experience of your surgeon, but even with the very best surgeon, you may still experience infections, blood clots and slippage or uneven settling of the implants that may require further surgery to correct and therefore longer off work.


If the chin implants are inserted from an external incision, you will be left with a small scar beneath your chin. You can avoid this by opting for an internal incision, made through your mouth, but this increases the risks of infection and healing problems due to the bacteria and plaque present in the mouth cavity. Your surgeon will advise on the most suitable option.

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Kathryn Senior

Profile of the author

Dr Kathryn Senior is an acclaimed medical journalist who has written over 500 feature articles for leading international journals within The Lancet group. As Senior Writer at Freelance Copy she produces high quality scientific and medical content for websites and printed publications for companies and organisations in the health, medical and pharmaceutical sectors.