Chin reduction can be performed by either bone removal, soft tissue removal or both. It can be done through either an intraoral (internal) or submental (external) approach depending upon the type of chin reduction being performed. While bone removal by osteotomy or shaving can be done from either approach, soft tissue removal can only be done from an external incision under the chin. Regardless of the chin reduction technique used, these are my common postoperative instructions for patients.
1. Most chin reduction surgery is associated with a only a very moderate amount of pain in the first few days after surgery. Narcotic pain medications are prescribed and use them if you need them. In a few days, you may switch to Tylenol or Ibuprofen or alternate between doses with the narcotic medication.
2. There will a compressive chin strap applied right after surgery which should stay in place for the first day after surgery. You may place a gel cool pack inside the strap next to the chin for the first night after surgery to help with swelling and discomfort..
3. For a submental approach glued in tapes will be applied under the chin over the resorble sutures.. These tapes stay on for a week when they can be removed. For an intraoral approach all sutures are dissolveable.
4. Considerable swelling of the chin is to be expected and will take two days to reach its full extent before it will begin to start to go down. Bruising is usually minimal from chin reduction surgery.
5. You may shower and wash your hair the next day after surgery. There is no harm in getting the tapes under the chin wet with soap and water.
6. Your chin will feel stiff and will feel numb for weeks after surgery. This is normal and can take 4 to 6 weeks until it looks, moves and feels normal again.
7. You may resume all regular oral hygiene care right after surgery. If sutures are inside the mouth you may drink and eat normally, just be careful when biting off foods with your front teeth. (this is when utensils to cut up your food are useful)
8. There are no restrictions on normal daily activities after the surgery. You may do light exercise anytime afterwards that you feel comfortable. But no strenuous exercise that involves bending over for three weeks after surgery.
9. You may drive within several days after the procedure, provided you are off pain medication and can react normally to driving conditions.
10. If any redness, tenderness, or increased swelling develops on the forehead or around the eyes after the first week of surgery, call Dr. Eppley and have your pharmacy number ready.
Dr. Barry Eppley