Repositioning the Chin Osteotomy

Q: I have seen your chin osteotomy video on Youtube. I’m from Vietnam. May I have your advice? I really need it. I had my chin done about 6 weeks ago. My chin bone was cut and moved forward about 8mm and now I have 3 small pieces of stainless steel in my chin bone. (like small rings). My doctor says that it’s ok to have those stainless steel in my chin for the rest of my life. Is that right? And the sad thing is that I regret that I had my chin cut. In fact, I just wish I hadn’t had the surgery. Should I now have my chin bone moved back? Can everything be like it was before or would my chin just be weaker? Can I get rid of that stainless steel in my chin if I have my chin moved back to its place just like it was before?

A: I have never had the experience in my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice of a patient ever regretting having their chin bone moved forward. This is a completely avoidable concern by using computer imaging prior to surgery. The chin is one of the two (the nose is the other) most easily and accurately computer imaged areas of the face. You can know precisely before surgery what it will likely look like afterwards. I am assuming that the regret from this patient is that they do not like the ‘new look’. Maybe it is moved too far forward or maybe it shouldn’t have been done at all. This is clearly a preventable case of surgical remorse.

While today’s facial bone surgery uses very small titanium plates and screws, the use of stainless steel wire (rings) is historic and perfectly safe. The use of bone wiring is still done in many parts of the world due to its lower cost. There is no concern with them there nor should they ever need to be removed.

Just as the chin can be cut and brought forward, it can be brought back to where it once was. This is much easier and quicker than the original surgery. If that is what one wants to do, I would do it within three months of the original surgery since there is minimal bone healing at this point. Chin osteotomies usually take at least six months to become completely healed back together. The use of wires or plates does have to be done to hold the bone together so it heals properly. The key to moving the chin back is to tighten the mentalis muscle back together well. Since it has been stretched out and expanded, it needs to be shortened and tightened once the bone is moved back and set. If not, you will end up with soft tissue sag known as a witch’s chin deformity.

Dr. Barry Eppley