What is a genioplasty?

Written by: Miss Katherine George
Published: | Updated: 02/05/2019
Edited by: Lisa Heffernan

The chin represents one of our most prominent facial features and numerous methods have been used to alter its shape for aesthetic reasons or the chin position may need to be corrected if it is out of balance in relation to the jaw. A genioplasty is surgery done to change the position of the chin and can be performed by both plastic and maxillofacial surgeons.

The surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic, so you will be completely asleep. Normally the surgery is carried out as a day case procedure and an overnight stay in hospital is not required. Sometimes a genioplasty can be carried out in combination with other jaw repositioning surgery and an overnight stay would then be advised.

Maxillofacial surgeon Miss Katherine George runs us through what happens during a genioplasty and how long it would take to recover.

What happens during a genioplasty?

The jaw bone is approached by a cut through the inside of the lower lip. This avoids a visible scar on the skin of your face. The jaw bone is then carefully cut with a small saw below the roots of the lower front teeth and below a nerve which supplies sensation to the chin and lower lip.

Once the bone has been cut, it can be moved and placed into the correct position. If the height of the chin needs to be adjusted, bone can either be removed or added by way of a bone graft. The chin is then fixed in its new position with small metal plates or screws, made of titanium. The gum is then closed back together over the bone with dissolving stitches.

How long is the healing process for genioplasty?

Initially, the chin will be swollen following surgery. Most of the swelling settles over a few weeks but more minor swelling can be present for a few months. Painkillers can be prescribed if there is any soreness. Swelling can be reduced using cold compresses and sleeping upright for a few days.

The bone takes about six weeks to fully heal but metal plates are not routinely removed unless there is a problem such as an infection, which is uncommon. The lower lip, chin and lower front teeth often feel a bit numb following surgery but this usually recovers over several weeks to months. Less commonly, the numbness or altered sensation can last longer.

Aftercare

Regarding eating after surgery, you shouldn’t have any trouble, although you may start with a soft diet, gradually building up to normal food over the course of a few days. It’s recommended not to do strenuous exercise for up to ten days following a genioplasty and to stay away from contact sports for up to 6-8 weeks.

Are there risks with genioplasty?

As with any operation, there are potential complications. There is a risk that the roots of the lower teeth could suffer damage but this is not common.

A review appointment should be scheduled with your maxillofacial surgeon upon leaving the hospital. Get in touch with Miss Katherine George if you would like to book a consultation for or require information about a genioplasty.

By Miss Katherine George
Oral & maxillofacial surgery

Miss Katherine George is an esteemed consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon based in London. Having qualified with distinction in her medical degree, Miss George has won multiple academic and clinical awards and prizes throughout her career. Following her higher surgical training she completed a fellowship in Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery with a focus on facelift and facial rejuvenation. 

Miss George also has advanced training in salivary gland disease management, and was the first person in the world to use intracorporeal lithotripsy to break salivary gland stones to avoid invasive surgery. This is an advanced technique that is still not widely available. Miss George is one of the few surgeons in the UK that is able to offer minimally invasive salivary gland surgery, and is part of a specialist salivary gland team. She is the surgical lead for salivary gland surgery for the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons. 

Alongside her clinical practice, Miss George is also an advanced trauma life support instructor, and has written numerous peer-reviewed articles for medical journals.

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