Orthognathic Surgery

Q: Dr. Eppley,  I am interested in orthognathic surgery even though my bite (Class 1) normal. Thus any orthognactic surgery would be cosmetic and not functionally beneficial. It just appears to me that my face and the bones in it did not grow in an optimal aesthetic direction. It seems that my face is too long and has dropped to a gaunt look with a flat midface. Could this be due to a downwards grown maxilla or other bones? Can it be fixed with a maxillary impaction?

A: Your malocclusion is modest and within the confines of a general Class I occlusion. The point being is that it is not the source of your aesthetic facial concerns. The difference between your child face and your adult one is the relatively standard change between the 2/3s dominance of the upper face in childhood to the completion of facial growth in early adulthood with a reversal in that proportionate relationship. Whether your face is too long is a personal assessment and not a function of actual facial structure disproportions.

Changing your facial proportions is done by decreasing the vertical length and improving the midface projection width. This is usually best done by a vertical wedge reduction genioplasty (chin) and malar-submalar implant augmentation. Doing a maxillary impaction would bury your upper teeth under your upper lip and would also require a concurrent mandibular osteotomy to keep your bite relationship from changing unfavorably.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana