I wanted to quickly discuss the topic of chin enhancement or chin reshaping using a chin implant for augmentation. Many potential chin implant patients inquire about sizing of the actual chin implant. They often ask, “How do you know what size implant I need to enhance my chin and jawline?” The answer is – I measure it!
My ‘Old’ Approach To Chin Implant Placement
When I went through my facial plastic surgery training, I was taught that you should use what are called ‘implant sizers’ when performing chin enhancement surgery. Basically, you have a general idea of what size chin implant you want to use to get the desired chin shape and size. Once in surgery, you then place a chin implant sizer into the area where the real implant will ultimately sit. The chin implant sizers are replicas of the real implant but come in a range of sizes and shapes. The sizers are intended to guide your plastic surgeon with the proper choice of chin implant. With the implant sizer in place, you make a visual assessment of the patient’s chin to see if you need to go up or down in size with regard to the implant. Once you decide on the appropriate size, you remove the implant sizer and place the real chin implant and complete the surgery.
The Problem With Chin Implant Sizers
Unfortunately, when using a chin implant sizer to determine the appropriate choice of implant for chin augmentation, there is one considerable hurdle – swelling that occurs during the surgery. Despite very careful surgical technique and gentle handling of the tissue, some chin implant patients will develop swelling of the area as the operation is ongoing. In these patients, there can be considerable inaccuracies when measuring whether or not the chin implant sizer is the correct choice for reshaping the jaw. After all we dealing with changes to the shape and size of the chin that are on the order of millimeters. So even moderate swelling during the chin augmentation surgery can lead to the wrong choice of implant for that particular patient.
My ‘New’ Approach To Chin Implant Placement
Because of this very issue, years ago I decided to take a new approach to chin enhancement surgery with an implant. I simply began measuring my San Diego chin implant patient’s deficiency in terms of chin projection before we actually went to surgery. During either the initial chin implant consultation or preoperative visit, I photograph my patient holding a ruler as shown here. By drawing a vertically line down from where their current chin ends, I can determine more accurately how many millimeters are needed to augment the chin. And this measurement is being done without confounding factors such as surgical swelling that are present with the old approach. Based on this actual measurement, I can choose a chin implant with the shape and size that is just right for my patient. Looking back over time, I feel quite strongly that this new approach to chin implant surgery to enhance the jawline and lower face has resulted in much improved esthetic outcomes for all of my San Diego chin implant patients.