Can A Sliding Genioplasty Be Redone Years Later For More Advancement?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I’ve had two procedures done 20 yrs ago. I don’t know the name of the procedure but I had a large amount of gums showing when I used to smile. They cut my upper jaw and raised it up, so I didn’t have the “gummy” smile. I then had my chin moved forward 11mm. I believe I have some underlying scar tissue from my upper jaw surgery underneath my cheeks. When I smile, my cheeks stand out and my face looks disproportionate. Can this be improved? Also my chin is still somewhat horizontally short. Can it be moved further forward again?

A: Your original surgery was a LeFort I or maxillary impaction to shorten the upper jaw and a sliding genioplasty to move the chin forward. The fullness that you have/feel in your cheeks is not really scar tissue per se. It is due to the release of the facial tissues made during the vestibular incision for your maxillary osteotomy. This causes some of the tissues and their muscular attachments to retract out to the sides into the cheeks, creating increased cheek fullness and what I call a ‘LeFort Look’ which is classic. This has long been recognized and is why at the completion of the maxillary bone surgery the vestibular incision is closed in a V-Y fashion to restore the midfacial tissues position. At this point in time after surgery, these tissues can not be respositioned. It may be possible to remove some of the buccal fat pad to reduce this fullness.

From a chin standpoint, osseous genioplasties or chin osteotomes can be repeated. The only complicating factor could be the fixation hardware used to secure the bone from the original surgery. Whether it was wires or plates and screws, these devices often get covered by bone healing and can be difficult to remove, hence blocking a good bone cut. Depending upon the indwelling hardware, it may be preferable to consider an implant rather than a repeat osteotomy. Whether chin implant or osteotomy should now be done can be determined by a simple x-ray, like a panorex, so the type of hardware in place can be seen.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana