How Is Chin Reduction Surgery Done?

Q: Is it possible to have a vertical chin that points downward as a result of fleshy tissue and not bone? My chin is vertically too long for my face and projects downward especially when I smile. I’d hate to have complications from having the bone burred down on the tip but would also hate to have titanium plates & screws in my chin from a wedge of bone being cut out to reduce the chin. I live in Texas and I don’t’ know any surgeons here that are properly certified and experienced in chin reductions. Please let me know. Thanks.

A: A long vertical chin can be the result of too much bone, too much soft tissue, or a combination of both. In most cases, vertical chin excess is a combination of both. By definition, a chin that is too long because of bone must have extra soft tissue to go with it. Making the proper diagnosis helps one correct the right chin reduction procedure. Not properly addressing the right problem, or inadequately treating it, is the reason so many chin reductions have unsatisfactory results.

A physical exam can usually tell which component make up the vertically excessive chin. In some cases, a simple panorex dental x-ray can also be helpful. The observation that your chin soft tissues pull downward when you smile is common and indicates that it a combined bone and soft tissue problem.

Chin reductions can be done by bone only reductions (intraoral horizontal reduction osteotomy) and bone and soft tissue reductions. (extraoral submental bone burring reduction and soft tissue resection and tightening) Because these two procedures are so different, one can see the importance of making the correct diagnosis of excessive tissues.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana