Will The Numbness In My Gums Ever Go Away After Sliding Genioplasty Surgery?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had a sliding genioplasty 18 months ago to replace an old chin implant. My lower gums are still largely numb and I have a lingering pain on the underside of my jaw on one side, radiating up to my ear, where I can feel a gap in the bone. (Note: I developed an abscess in this spot after surgery which healed about a month later.) Can these functional problems be fixed? And are they indicative of the surgeon’s lack of skill, or are they unavoidable complications?

A: In answer to your postoperative sliding genioplasty questions:

1) At 18 months after the surgery I would think that any further improvement in the numbness symptoms would improve. Nerve recovery is usually peaked by 12 to 18 months after surgery.

2) Bone gaps at the inferior border at the end of the osteotomy cut are common. They can be filled in/smoothed out.

3) The radiation of pain up to the ear is not a postoperative sliding genioplasty symptom I have heard before and I don’t have a good explanation for it.

But for #2 and #3 what would be very helpful is to see a postoperative panorex x-ray to evaluate the osteotomy lines/bone gap/nerve foramen location.This would allow me to make a more informed commentary on these issues.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana