What Are My Options For Shortening A Long Face?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am looking to have corrective jaw surgery for my long face.  I don’t have an under/overbite but I do have longer face which I would like to be shortened. What are the options  available for doing this? I have attached a picture for your assessment.

A: There are two fundamental approaches to aesthetically shortening the long face. The first is a vertical chin reduction osteotomy in which only the chin length is reduced. (shortening of the lower third of the face) I have attached an imaging picture of what that may look like on you. This would be the simplest technique but it only deals with one area of vertical excess, the chin. A true long face is most people involves the entire face. The second approach, which is usually combined with vertical chin reduction, is a maxillary impaction or shortening. This requires that the patient has a vertical maxillary excess to start with as reflected in having a lot of tooth exposure and/or a gummy smile and lip incompetence. This shortens the middle part of the face which when combined with vertical chin reduction gives the maximal shortening effect. This is a more extensive approach requiring a LeFort I osteotomy and, again, requires that the patient have vertical maxillary excess. Your pictures suggests that you have that to some degree based on your tooth show/lip incompetence at rest. This is a harder area to image given that it is in the middle part of the face.

Which approach is best for any patient depends on how much vertical shortening they need and what one is prepared to got through to get what degree of shortening.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana