Every so often, magazines and beauty websites put out lists of the year’s most beautiful faces. If you pay careful attention, you’ll notice a face shape common to members of those lists: the v-line face shape, characterized by a wider forehead and cheekbones but a narrower jawline. In other words, the top two-thirds of the face are larger than the bottom third is. Associated with youth and beauty, this v-line shape stands in contrast to a bottom-heavy face. One of the things that sets apart a bottom-heavy face shape is a chin that protrudes too far forward. This also goes for chins that look too wide or too long when viewed from the front. People often perceive those whose chins jut out as being less attractive. One way to soften this facial feature is through a mentoplasty.
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WHAT IS MENTOPLASTY?
Plastic surgeons use the term Mentoplasty to refer to a chin reduction. Patients who have one can reduce the appearance of a chin that is too large or prominent.
Most of the time, cosmetic medicine practitioners seek to reshape the actual chin bone. The thing is, some people who are unhappy with a large chin are in reality bothered by what’s known as a double chin. That issue, however, isn’t solved by reducing the chin bone.
TYPES OF CHIN REDUCTION
The most common way to improve a prominent chin is with chin reduction surgery. Standard ways to reduce the chin via surgery include:
- Chin reduction where the jaw angle is also reduced. Here, the doctor removes some of the chin bone. He does it in ways that angle the chin so that it will appear curved and less wide and square, thus promoting the desirable v-line shape;
- Chin reduction without reducing the jaw angle. The surgeon in this case strives to adjust and reposition the chin bone back. This corrects the over projection or the long length of the chin;
- Chin reduction by using bone cuts to slide bone segments towards the middle, thus making the chin appear narrower. This technique is also known as a T osteotomy.
Broadly speaking, a chin reduction consists of having the doctor gain access to the chin bone and the tissue around it so that they can make changes to it. The surgeon will make incisions either under the chin or inside the mouth. They will then sand or mill the bone to reduce and reshape it, or move or re-position it. They may also make any necessary cuts to the bone. If required, the doctor will stabilize the changes they makes with small titanium plates and screws. They then suture up the chin.
Now, suppose you don’t like your chin and feel it’s too big because when you look in the mirror, it looks like you have two chins. The normal angle between the jaw and neck doesn’t seem to be there. So, you would like your chin reduced.
The area under the chin is called the submental space. If there’s a volume of excess fat in the submental space, that will give the look of what’s called a double chin. The types of surgery described above won’t help, since the issue is too much submental fat. Changing the shape or size of the chin bone can’t fix that. In this case, chin reduction can consist of a submentoplasty.
Submentoplasty is a surgical approach to molding the submental space and thus reducing a double chin. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that practitioners perform on an outpatient basis. Most people who resort to a submentoplasty have tried and failed to reduce a double chin by exercising and maintaining a healthy weight.
A doctor carries out a submentoplasty by making small incisions in the fatty area below the chin. Then, they insert a tube to perform liposuction and remove small, strategically located deposits of fat. The result is a smoother profile and a tightened chin.
DEOXYCHOLIC ACID FOR MENTOPLASTY
All surgeries come with downsides. There’s a need for anesthesia and a need for down time in which to recover. That’s why people look for non-surgical alternatives.
In the case of chin reduction, that alternative would be a substance known as deoxycholic acid. It occurs naturally in the human body, but synthetic deoxycholic acid is sold under the brand names of Kybella (USA) and Belkyra (Europe). Both are injectables that target the localized submental fat responsible for a double chin. They work by dissolving the membranes of the fat cells. This allows the fat to pass through the body and be reabsorbed as opposed to being physically removed, which is what happens during a submentoplasty.
Furthermore, deoxycholic acid injectables have the effect of tightening the skin over time. This helps redefine the jawline. Doctors recommend these injectables for cases of moderate to severe double chin that have not been responsive to changes in diet or to weight-loss efforts.
An individual receiving a deoxycholic acid injectable should expect to have two to six treatment sessions, spaced four to six weeks apart. Because of the greater number of treatments and the fact that time must pass between each treatment, deoxycholic acid doesn’t provide fast results. In fact, a patient can expect to wait weeks to begin seeing noticeable effects.
WHAT IS MENTOPLASTY PROCEDURE LIKE?
Surgeons perform chin reduction procedures with general anesthesia. The procedure takes an hour or two. To reduce movement after the surgery, the doctor may place a facial support band under the chin and jaw. A hospital stay is not required.
A submentoplasty is minor surgery that takes about 45 minutes but necessitates fewer sutures than mentoplasty. It typically requires oral sedation, which means you’ll need someone to drive you home after the procedure. Swelling and bruising go down noticeably after two or three days.
Each deoxycholic acid injection session takes about 20 to 30 minutes. The practitioner will administer a local anesthetic such as, for example, EMLA cream, and do a series of 20 to 30 injections. Even though it’s not a surgical procedure, there may be pain, and it’s not unusual for swelling and a certain amount of discomfort to last for up to 10 days afterwards.
If you’re unsatisfied with your prominent or double chin, which of these options is right for you? Because every case is different, your best bet is a consultation with a qualified cosmetic medicine professional who can assess your facial profile, your goals and comfort level with surgery. Together, you can choose a course of action that will improve your chin’s appearance.