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Dr Tim Neavin
Surgery with Symmetry
Dr Tim Neavin

Chin augmentation surgery in Santa Barbara

Changing your appearance of your chin with can be done with the use of an chin implant or injectable. Implants also wonderfully improve the contour of the jawline. It is an effective operation for someone who has:

  • A weak chin
  • A larger nose
  • An imbalanced profile
  • A profile that simply isn’t as strong as one would like (generally, men)

There are three ways a plastic surgeon can enhance your look. One is a sliding genioplasty. This is a rather invasive procedure where the bones of the jaw are cut to slide the bony part of the chin forward.  While this surgery can provide wonderful results, patients will have more swelling, downtime and pain. It also carries more risks of nerve injury and bone healing problems. For the most part, plastic surgeons have replaced this procedure with silicone implants or fillers.

Before and After Photos

Chin Enhancement

A chin augmentation procedure uses a small incision inside the mouth or under the chin to place a silicone implant. The shapes and sizes of implants available are diverse.  Some implants are wide, others narrow.  Some are very large and others add very subtle projection.  The key to good outcomes with proper implant selection is:

1) Proper aesthetic evaluation

2) Proper election to meet the desired goal

3) Minimal incision

4) Precise dissection on bone

5) Proper placement

Proper evaluation from a board certified plastic surgeon cannot be over stated. Indeed, mathematical equations exist to guide one to appropriate projection and width to balance the face.  The aesthetic doctor must understand beauty in order to create it. There is absolutely no room for guessing. Having said that, one of the nice things about this surgery is that one can choose to remove the implants easily and safely under local anesthesia if one desires to revert the procedure.

Balance and Beauty

It is a common belief by women that chin augmentation may make the face a bit more masculine. But, this is overwhelmingly not the case if the plastic surgery is done appropriately.  Again, this reiterates the importance of proper diagnosis. Enhancement in women often feminizes the face. If you have your doubts about this statement I urge you to search for images online of profile photos of Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, and Kate Upton. The projection on these women are striking. Why then, do they not look masculine?

Front View Impact of a Chin Enhancement

The chin must balance the face in profile and in front view. Chins in concert with the jaw and cheek bones assist in forming the desired square face in men and the heart shape face in women. Often, a bigger chin will harmonize better with the other facial features. In addition, one must not forget the impact on the front and three quarter view.  With longer and shorter implants, the trained eye can be modify the face  significantly to accentuate existing beauty.

Side View Impact of a Chin Implant

A proper chin augmentation can strengthen a male profile. It can balance a woman’s profile. And, it can make a large nose appear smaller. In fact, it is not uncommon for women to come into the office for a rhinoplasty, when in fact they just need a more prominent chin. Dr. Neavin will evaluate you with an artistic eye. He may even illustrate the effects of a chin enhancement to show patients the potential result with an enhanced jaw line. Generally, a small chin corresponds with deficient volume in the cheeks in both men and women. Facial fat grafting to the cheeks often goes hand in hand with chin augmentation. With women, enhancing the lip is often the rule, as well. More on these topics exist in their respective procedure pages.

Subtle but Significant

Chin augmentation is a procedure that Dr. Neavin describes as subtle but significant. It is surprising how few people, even friends and family, will be able to identify that you’ve had plastic surgery. Despite the magnificent profile and improved photos from this enhancement, most people that don’t realize you had surgery will simply tell you that you look better. Perhaps one of the most powerful face transformations is a chin augmentation with rhinoplasty, lip enhancement, buccal lipectomy, and facial fat grafting. Buccal lipectomy is a procedure that removes the appearance of chipmunk cheeks. Dr. Neavin often performs this combination.  The synergy from these transformative procedures can convert virtually any face into one that looks like it belongs on a billboard. And the best benefit is that it can all be done with no visible scars on the face.


A plastic surgeon will take about 30 minutes to perform the surgery. While one does not necessarily need general anesthesia for surgery, it is often a recommendation for many patients. For patients who hate going to the dentist, general anesthesia may be preferable. However, one can perform the procedure easily with no pain while the patient is awake. Pain medications and relaxing drugs are given. Then, local anesthesia and adequate nerve blocks are administered to make the procedure comfortable. Results are immediate. Downtime is short.  It is often combined with other surgeries of the face.


During your consultation, Dr. Neavin takes great time to evaluate your facial features as it relates to the nose and lips. Photographs are welcome to illustrate ideal profiles.  He will review both intra-oral and external approaches and their respective advantages and disadvantages. Sample chin implants will be given to you to look at and feel. They are made of silicone and come in various sizes and shapes. Your preferred shape and existing anatomy will determine the most appropriate size and shape for your face.

Your bite will also be evaluated. Keep in mind, the implant will not change one’s bite. For significant under-bites, jaw surgery may be the more appropriate surgery. Dr. Neavin will determine this at your initial appointment with him.


After proper diagnosis, the surgery proceeds under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Unless the chin augmentation is combined with other procedures, Dr. Neavin may recommend to perform the surgery in the office under local anesthesia. Before plastic surgery, one must make a decision: Intraoral or external incision. The factors that one must consider in this decision are scar placement versus potentially more complications.  Because the external incision is small (2  to 2.5 cm) and under the chin, the scar is virtually imperceivable in most men and women. An external incision also provides the surgeon with the best visibility.  This is turn, reduces risks to nerve impingement or injury. However, Dr. Neavin can place very large implants quite easily through this approach.

Incisions within the mouth are performed by the surgeon in a more blind fashion.  In experienced hands this should not result in an increased risk of nerve trauma. However, it has its unique disadvantages:

1) More difficult to place

2) Contamination from oral cavity may increase infection rate

3) Disruption of the muscle in dissection can weaken the chin and make it drop over time

Both approaches are safe and effective in experienced hands. Dr. Neavin will help you determine the best technique for you.

Which Approach is Best?

Regardless of the chosen approach, the surgeon proceeds with the same steps. After prepping, Dr. Neavin injects lidocaine to anesthetize the area.  Then, he will make a  small incision.  Next,  he dissects is to bone.  He then elevates the soft tissues off the bone in a precise fashion.  At this point, great care is taken to avoid the mental nerve which is above the plane of dissection With precision, Dr. Neavin avoids dissection below the border of the mandible. Otherwise, malposition becomes a risk.  He will then place either a sizer or chin implant in the precisely dissected pocket. Plastic surgeons sometimes use disposable sizers to assess best size before committing the the placement. Lastly, he will close the incision.

Chin augmentation surgery takes approximately in 30 minutes. Moreover, the results of are immediate with potentially no visible scarring.

Using Fillers or Fat

Dermal fillers are wonderful temporary substitutes. And depending on the product, results may last up to two years or more.  Dr. Neavin will often inject fat into the chin during facial fat grafting cases.  Fat can deliver subtle permanent enhancement. For more on these options visit the respective procedure page.


There is surprisingly little pain after the surgery. Swelling around the jaw may persist for up to a week. If Dr. Neavin decides to place the incision  within the mouth, he will recommend a soft diet for three days.  He will prescribe antibiotics  for up to a week. Surprisingly, most friends and family will be unaware that you’ve had plastic surgery.  While the results are often subtle, they are significant.  In some magical way, chin enhancement will improve one’s appearance with no obvious difference to the face. No special dressings or wraps are required after surgery. Stitches, if the incision is placed externally, will be removed in the office within one week. Internal incisions will dissolve.  Moreover, the implant will not move even upon contact.

If you are unhappy with your facial profile, visit our Los Angeles location or Artisan of Beauty Plastic Surgery today at 310-858-8811 or text 323-975-1287 and find out if chin augmentation is the right procedure for you.


What is chin implant surgery?

Chin implant surgery is also referred to chin augmentation. An implant is placed through a small incision either externally below the chin or from inside the mouth to rest on the bone in a secure, precisely dissected pocket to enhance projection of the chin.

How do I know if I could benefit from a chin implant?

A profile photo is generally the best way to assess chin projection. Chins in men and women do follow different rules when it comes to balancing the face. In addition, the chin should also be evaluated with the nose and lips. As a general rule (and there are always exceptions), one should have their chin project beyond an imaginary line connected from the tip of the nose to the lower lip on a side view. In the photo below of the man, one can readily see how even a modest enlargement of the chin can add masculinity to the face. It should be noted that other procedures were performed on this man, including a neck lift and facial fat grafting. In the photo below of the woman, the powerful transformation of chin enhancement is apparent. A properly balanced chin can make the nose look smaller. It should be noted that a chin implant will not alter your bite, but overbites and underbites can be modified with a genioplasty. A genioplasty adds projection to the chin and corrects teeth misalignment. However, the genioplasty surgery is much more invasive than chin augmentation and carries additional risks.

What are the chin implants made of?

The chin implants used are made of silicone.

Are there different sizes of chin implants?

Yes. Sizes of chin implants vary in projection and shape. Some implants are extended and wrap around the chin further than others. The size and shape of the chin implant chosen will depend on your current facial shape and your desired results. For instance, a more angular lower third of the face could be slightly altered with an extended chin implant. A more rounded face can be adjusted with the addition of a narrower chin implant.

Can my body reject a chin implant?

Silicone is rather inert in the human body. Rejection doesn’t occur like it does in the sense of a transplanted organ. It can become infected, in which case it may have to be removed, but that is very rare.

If I don’t like it, can I have it removed easily?

Yes. The implants are made of a smooth silicone. They are not secured into the bone. Removal of the implant can be done quite easily in the office under local anesthesia.

If the chin implant is removed, will my chin be saggy?

Generally, no. If the implant was placed through the mouth, it is possible that the muscles that suspend the chin weaken, and removal of the implant could cause a small descent of the chin pad. This is rare and can be improved with permanent suspension stitches in the office. The skin itself from the implant won’t be stretched permanently.

Will a chin implant affect my ability to shave?

For men who have a chin implant placed within the mouth, there are no concerns about shaving over an incision. If the chin implant was placed externally below the chin, it is possible that while the scar matures the incision will be in the path of a razor. While it heals, simple caution around the incision should eliminate any problems with cutting the scar.

Can you add a chin implant at the same time as a facelift or neck lift?

Yes. In fact, chin augmentation is often part of a combined facial procedure. The most common combinations are chin augmentation with rhinoplasty, or chin augmentation with buccal fat (chipmunk cheeks) removal and facial fat grafting. Interestingly, most people that are unaware you had chin augmentation surgery will not be able to put their finger on why you look better. Alterations to the chin can balance the face without making it look drastically different. That is the beauty of a chin augmentation.

How do I know if I need a chin implant or neck liposuction?

Often, chin augmentation is combined with liposuction of the neck. Added projection to the chin with a tighter neck powerfully transforms the profile. The photos below of the man and woman demonstrate this.

Why are chin implants often used in combination with rhinoplasty surgery?

The chin, nose and lips all act to balance the profile. Larger noses can look smaller with the addition of a larger chin and lips. Thus, when performing a reduction rhinoplasty, chin implants are often used. Even a small one can do wonders balancing the face and nose without making the chin look too big. Women are often concerned an implant will give them a stronger jawline than they want. The photo below of a three quarter view demonstrates that a properly sized chin implant can obviate the need for rhinoplasty. In fact, this woman had initially wanted a smaller nose. By simply adding volume to lips and chin her face became perfectly balanced.

Will I need to be asleep for chin augmentation?

Because chin augmentations are often performed in combination with other procedures, patients are most often asleep for the surgery. However, it is possible to perform chin augmentation with local anesthesia as well.

How long does chin augmentation surgery take?

A chin augmentation surgery from start to finish generally takes less than an hour.

How long will I be bruised or swollen after surgery?

Some swelling is normal after chin augmentation but it should subside within a few days. Bruising is rare, but can happen on occasion and will also disappear within a matter of days in most cases.

Does chin augmentation surgery hurt?

The chin will be sore for about three days but the discomfort won’t interfere with talking or eating. Commonly prescribed oral analgesics are more than enough to handle post-operative pain.

Will people know I had a chin augmentation?

It is interesting that while most people will think you look more attractive after a chin augmentation, most won’t be able to tell why. Chin augmentation isn’t like rhinoplasty of breast augmentation. These surgeries generate obvious results. Chin augmentation creates subtle but significant results. It will surprise you how few of your friends (if any) and even family members will realize you had chin surgery.

Where is the incision for chin augmentation surgery?

There are two possible incisions for chin augmentation. One is external and the other is inside the mouth. Both incisions are about two centimeters in length. The external incision offers the advantage that more of the dissection is visible, and the mentalis muscle that supports the chin pad isn’t divided. Division of the mentalis muscle can in rare cases cause a mild descent of the chin pad over time. The disadvantage is that the external incision will leave a scar. The scar, while hidden well, isn’t completely invisible. For men who shave, the scar can sometimes be scratched with a razor during the healing phase. Dr. Neavin performs both incision approaches, depending on a patient’s individual preferences.

Will the incision for chin augmentation surgery be visible?

(See above question) The intraoral incision will not be visible. The external incision is placed transversely just under the chin and is about two centimeters in length. This heals remarkable well and is virtually impossible to see during normal interactions among people.

When can I return to work after chin augmentation surgery?

There will be some swelling and pain after surgery for a few days. Most people that have a chin augmentation on Thursday or Friday can return to work Monday.

Will I have visible stitches and if so, for how long?

There are no visible stitches when the chin implant is placed inside the mouth. With the external incision, there are two ways a surgeon can close the incision. One is with pull-out stitches and the other uses dissolvable stitches. The pull out stitches are generally preferred over dissolvable because as stitches dissolve, they leave inflammation. The scar will generally mature better and faster with pull-out stitches that will be removed at about seven days.

How does the chin implant stay where you put it? Can it move?

Chin implants are not secured to bone. They can be secured to soft tissue, but even that isn’t necessary. The surgical pocket made between the bone and soft tissue is precise, fitting the implant snugly. It would be very unusual for the implant to migrate.

Will I have bandages after surgery and if so, for how long?

Generally, no bandages are required after chin augmentation. However, there are exceptions. In revision cases or when downsizing an implant, a bandage may be placed for about one week. However, that is the exception and not the rule.

Will there be any dietary restrictions after chin implant surgery?

With the intraoral incision, hard foods should be avoided for a week. This includes pretzels, potato chips, etc. The mouth should be rinsed with mouthwash in the morning and at night to keep the area clean and free of infection.

What other restrictions do I have with chin augmentation surgery?

Contact sports, where there is a threat to harm the chin, should be avoided for several weeks. There are also some oral care and dietary rules to follow if the implant is placed through the mouth:
Soft foods for a week
Rinse with mouth wash after every meal (or at least twice a day)
Care with brushing teeth for first week
Chin augmentation offers dramatic results in the facial profile without making it obvious you had a surgical procedure. To learn more about this surgery, contact Artisan of Beauty Plastic Surgery at 310‑858‑8811.

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