Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in facial reshaping surgery. I am a female with a recessive lower chin and a minimal jawline. I have had orthognathic surgery twice now, which has improved my teeth but not the balance of my face. I still have a very convex facial profile with an extremely long vertical jaw angle. Here are some images of my face. I hope these will help you to assess my situation. My last surgery was 11 months ago in which my upper and lower jaw were brought forward to correct an overbite and an open bite. I do feel that my upper jaw (between nose and upper lip) is more elongated than before. As you will see from the photos it is difficult for me to close my lips. I realize that this cannot probably be fixed, however I would like my face to look less long and narrow and my jaw line more defined. My jaw is rather vertical in angle. Any advice very much appreciated.
A: The forward positioning of the maxillomandibular complex has placed a strain on your lip closure as this was not the bony relationship that your lips were ‘designed’ to function over. Along with the upper lip lengthening, these are not rare changes that occur with such maxillomandbular forward movements. In addition, loss of the jaw angle can occur with sagittal split ramus osteotomies (SSRO) of the mandible particularly when the lower jaw moves forward. This can be accentuated in females who may already have a thin and slightly high vertical has angle position initially.
The way to make your face look less vertically long and not so narrow is through a combined sliding genioplasty and jaw angle implants. Small vertically lengthening jaw angle implants (7mm vertical length and 3 to 5mms width) will create more defined jaw angles but not over power the upper face. A sliding genioplasty of the movements of 3mms forward and 6mms vertical reduction would shorten the chin length and also help push up the soft tissue chin pad. This may provide some potential benefit also to reducing the lip strain through a better lower lip position at rest.
Dr. Barry Eppley