Sometimes referred to as a chin lift, the procedure of chin augmentation is a cosmetic surgery option designed to enhance the outward appearance of the chin. The insertion of a chin implant normally takes place when the individual lacks a chin with a shape and contour that would be considered in proportion with the shape of the face, the set of the eyes, and the size and shape of the cheeks.
Chin augmentation is general is known as mentoplasty. However, there is a specialized procedure known as a sliding genioplasty. A procedure of this type may not use implants at all in order to achieve the augmentation. Instead, a section of the existing cheekbone is shaped and moved forward or backward to achieve the desired appearance. Once in place, the bone is secured with the use of titanium screws.
When the possibility of reshaping the bone is not present, chin augmentation will involve inserting an implant to alter the outward appearance of the chin. Chin implants, unlike some other types of implant devices, is usually rigid in construction, helping to more closely resemble a natural chin.
While many people think of chin augmentation as adding to the chin in some manner, chin lifts can also involve minimizing the presence of a chin considered too prominent. Reducing chin size often involves the use of either the sliding genioplasty procedure to recess a portion of the bone, or the use of a rotary burr to permanently remove some of the mass of the chin.
A number of different materials have been employed with chin augmentation since the procedure became popular in the middle 20th century. Ivory shaped to the proper dimensions has been a common implant for many years. Paraffin is used in some variations of the procedure. Silicone and the utilization of polyester mesh are sometimes employed, depending on the desired outcome of the surgery.
In addition to the use of synthetic materials in a chin augmentation procedure, it is also possible to utilize other body tissue as well. Cartilage and bone harvested from the nose may be used; cartilage removed from the ribs is also a possibility. However, many healthcare professionals prefer to not use these types of materials, owing to data indicating a higher incidence of infection with harvested tissue than with other materials.
Before performing a chin augmentation, the surgeon will investigate the condition and alignment of the teeth and jaws. This can often provide valuable information that helps the surgeon identify how the augmentation should be performed, and what choice of implant materials would be in the best interests of the patient.