Does Orthognathic Surgery Create A Cheek Augmentation Effect?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I was looking into orthognathic surgery as I have a receding chin and asymmetrical jaw. I was wondering if this procedure helps shorten the length of the face? Also does it have any type of effect on the cheekbones? I have flat cheekbones and was wondering if this surgery would have any type of affect on them.

A: Depending upon the type of orthognathic surgery done and the bony movements, it may well improve jaw asymmetry and a shorter chin, although often a separate chin osteotomy needs to be combined with it. But it would be uncommon that orthognathic surgery will shorten the vertical length of the face. It may make no significant vertical change or may even lengthen it but vertical shortening will only occur if the maxilla is being impacted as part of the treatment plan. What is for absolute certainty is that the cheek bones will not be affected in any way, positive or negatively, with orthognathic surgery. The horizontal bony cut at the LeFort 1 level goes below the cheek bones just above the roots of the upper teeth. Cheek augmentation can be achieved at the time of orthognathic surgery, however, by the simultaneous placement of cheek implants above the level of the osteotomy cut on the flatter cheek prominence.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana