Chin augmentation is the most historic but still the most commonly performed facial augmentation procedure. While many other types of facial implants have been developed, increasing projection of a deficient lower face is still the most potentially dramatic facial augmentation change of them all.
Chin implants have evolved considerably over the past few decades with numerous new styles. The fundamental concept of these style changes has been to create a more natural chin augmentation look or augment different regions of the chin area. But the one constant of all the chin implant styles is that they create a straight horizontal dimensional increase. This is so because all of the implant remains on the front edge of the chin bone.
But some chin deficient patients have more than just a horizontal bone deficiency. Certain short chins are also vertically deficient as well. Historically the only surgical method to substantially increase chin height was an opening wedge sliding genioplasty. While effective some patients would prefer to avoid a bone cutting surgery.
While it is true that a standard chin implant can be placed very low on the bone(on its ledge so to speak), this is not how the implant is designed or made to be used. This makes it potentially unstable to sit on the lower end of the bone and, even in doing so, produces a a very limited vertical lengthening effect.
To address the combined horizontal and vertically lacking chin with an implant, the vertical lengthening chin implant (Implantech) has been developed. What is unique about this chin implant style is that the projection of the implant goes down from the chin at 45 degrees. This creates a combined horizontal and vertical increase. The implant actually sits on the ledge of the chin by design and thus it is more stable. To ensure optimal stability and positioning, a single 2.0mm screw can be placed through the implant to the bone when done from a submental incision. When done intraorally, a 1.5mm screw can be placed through the top edge of the implant to prevent any risk of upward migration. (which actually should be done with all chin implants placed intraorally)
Proper patient selection for the vertical lengthening chin implant is critical. It should only be used in patients with a significant vertical deficiency of the chin that also has a horizontal shortness as well. Most of these patients with have an almost 45 degree backward slant between the lower lip and chin. In general, the shorter the horizontal chin deficiency the more likely there will chin height shortness as well. Because it is an implant the width of the chin will also get bigger as the chin gets longer with greater horizontal projection. (a key aesthetic consideration)
In some men with slight or even no real vertical deficiencies, the addition of chin height will create a stronger or more masculine lower facial appearance. While this may be effective for some men, this is not a good strategy for women.
Different sizes (angulations) of the vertical lengthening chin implant are available which can increase the vertical up to 7ms while increasing the horizontal up to 12mms. Such chin augmentation changes may allow some patients to avoid an osteotomy of the chin.
The vertical lengthening chin implant is truly the first 3D chin implant ever made as it increases all three chin dimensions.
Dr. Barry Eppley