Should I Be Concerned About Bone Resorption Under A Chin Implant?

Q:Hi Dr Eppley i just read your”The Advantages of a Chin Osteotomy Vs a Chin Implant ” paper. I have a medium to small chin deficiency and am a  male  that is 41 years old. Is bone resorption something to worry about in the long time results with silicone chin implant? Thanks a lot!

A: The phenomenon of chin implant bone resorption, or the implant ‘settling into the bone’, is well known but is rarely of any clinical significance. This is a natural phenomenon when large chin implants are used. The pressure put on the underlying bone from the stretched overlying soft tissue is transmitted through the implant. Since the implant is composed of a non-resorbable synthetic material, it can not change from the overlying pressure. To accomodate the pressure, the underlying bone may resorb a little bit. This will allow the implant to settle into the bone which can be seen quite clearly in a profile x-ray.

This implant settling causes no problems other than perhaps the loss of a millimeter or two of chin projection. Since this resorptive process is so gradual, one would never know it. In most chin implants, however, this does not occur as smaller implants do not push on the chin soft tissue as much.

This potential bone change should have no bearing whatsoever on whether one chooses a chin implant or a chin osteotomy. The degree of chin shortness and the age of the patient are the most important factors in the choice one can make for chin augmentation.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana