Can Just One Side Of My Jaw Be Built Up For Symmetry?

Q: Dr. Eppley, a little over a year ago I had contacted you about possibly doing a jaw implant procedure. I decided to try an injectable filler (Radiesse) first for a year before moving forward with any permanent surgery. I now think I would like to move forward with an actual implant(s). I have some asymmetry between my left and right side, with the right side being the “weaker” side. I could use a slightly stronger jawline overall, but I see my main area where I want improvement being my right side. I am still unsure if I want to do both sides for a wider jawline and symmetry or just the right side. Can you comment on the swelling time frame and when I can expect to look 100% again?  And if I do decide to do surgery will a CT scan be part of the process?  Thank you very much

A: When it comes to fixing slight asymmetries on just one side of the face (in a young male patient), I would caution you that it is very hard to achieve using standard off-the-shelf jaw angle implants. There will invariably be improvement but asymmetry will usually persist/develop for other reasons. It is virtually impossible to get a perfect match to the other side by just guessing with stock implants. When it comes to asymmetries like yours and only one side wants to be done, I would urge a patient to get a custom implant made on matching the anatomy from the other side. That is the best way to not develop another 'problem' after the surgery. Doing just one side with a stock implant is fine but you would have to accept that it will not be perfectly symmetric so such an approach is only good for the patient who is willing to accept the imperfections of the procedure.

To put it bluntly, the recovery from jaw angle implant surgery is significant. It is not that it is so terrible it is just that it will be much longer that you envision it and most men are not really prepared for the duration until they look more normal. (socially acceptable) If you are using the criteria of 100%, meaning the final result then that is 3 months. If you are looking at when do I look reasonably normal (50% to 75% of the swelling is gone) then I would look at three weeks. Other than some early jaw stiffness and decreased oral opening, the recovery is largely social. (how do I look?)

Lastly, a CT scan is only part of the process if custom implants are being made.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana