Can Jaw Setback Surgery And A Facelift Be Combined?

Q: Dr. Eppley, can a lower jaw setback be combined with a lower gfacelift during the same procedure? Have you yourself done this before?

A:  The technical capability of performing a combined orthognathic procedure, like a mandibular setback, with a facelift is certainly possible. The need for it is so rare, however, that it would be hard to a surgeon that had ever done it together. There are several reasons for its rarity. By definition, a facelift would be done in an older patient while orthognathic surgery is usually done in a younger patient. Thus, the mainstream population of each procedure are at diametric ages. There is also the consideration that the  type of surgeon that performs these procedures are quite different. Most maxillofacial surgeons have little or no training for facelift surgery and most plastic surgeons have little or no training in orthognathic surgery. While plastic and maxillofacial surgeons certainly can work together and coordinate these surgeries, most plastic surgeons would probably prefer to defer the facelift to a later date due to swelling considerations.

With all of that being said, a mandibular setback and a facelift can be done together. The question is not whether they can be done together but whether they should. While each operation poses a ‘surgical opportunity’ to do additional procedures, you want to make sure that the patient can still get a result that would be comparable if either procedure was done alone. Surgical opportunity should not be more important than an outcome. In that regard, I would have to know more about how much mandibular setback is needed and the proposed technique (sagittal split ramus osteotomy vs vertical oblique osteotomies) and the degree of neck and jowl sagging that exists. Then I could answer the question better about whether such a combination is a good idea.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana