What are jaw implants?
Jaw implants are a surgical procedure in which an implant is placed along the jawline to give the chin and jaw a more pronounced look.
This surgery is a good option for both men and women who feel that their chin looks receding or smaller than the rest of their face, or that their jaw is not defined. When done by an experienced plastic surgeon, jaw implants can help balance out the proportion of all facial features. Such implants are often combined with a rhinoplasty, or nose job procedure, because the nose and chin are considered complimentary in terms of facial proportions.
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Before Jaw Implants
Preparing for jaw implants
There are steps you can take before your jaw implant procedure to make sure it goes as seamlessly as possible. Here are some things you can do to prepare:
. Stop smoking in the weeks leading up to the procedure, and plan to not smoke in the weeks after.
. Avoid taking blood thinning medications including ibuprofen and certain herbal supplements.
. Make sure to arrange a ride to and from your appointment, and if you live alone, see if there is someone who can check in on you during your recovery time.
. It can be smart to visit your general practitioner before your surgery to make sure you are in good health and that your body can handle the surgery.
. Talk to your surgeon beforehand and look at before-and-after pictures to make sure you have realistic expectations for surgery.
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Targeted areas for jaw implants
Though you can get implants many places on the body, jaw implants specifically target the lower half of the face with emphasis on the jaw and chin area.
Risks or side effects
All cosmetic surgery carries at least some risk. Risks of getting jaw implants include:
. Infection, which can result in removal of the implant
. Complications from anesthesia
. Prolonged scarring
. Excessive bleeding
. A shifted implant, which can result in need for corrective surgery
. Allergic reaction to an implant
. Nerve damage
Nerve damage specifically can include numbness of the lower lip and damage to the nerve that controls the muscles around the mouth. This can cause an asymmetric smile, drooling, or a lisp. These complications are usually temporary and improve over several weeks to months.
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During Jaw Implants
How do jaw implants work?
Jaw or chin implants are typically made of silicone or a polyethylene known as Medpor. The implants are designed to specifically fit a patient’s individual face shape. The implant elongates the look of the jaw, typically by the chin, to give the face a sharper angle and more pronounced jaw line.
During jaw implants
Getting a jaw implant is typically an outpatient procedure that takes as little as one hour. There are a few different types of implants, depending on how much natural bone you have. A typical procedure is as follows:
. You will arrive at your appointment, fill out the appropriate paperwork, and then be led to the room where the procedure will be performed.
. A nurse or the surgeon will give you general anesthesia.
. An incision will be made, usually inside the mouth to reduce scarring.
. The implant will be placed inside the pocket created by the incision along the jawbone.
. After the jaw implant is placed, the incision will be closed using stitches or sutures and the jaw and chin area may be bandaged.
. The jaw implant procedure itself takes about an hour.
. You should arrange for someone else to pick you up as the anesthesia can make it dangerous to drive.
After Jaw Implants
What to expect after jaw implants
. Jaw implant surgery is a relatively quick procedure, but you will need to plan for your recovery.
. You will see results immediately, though the surgical area will be swollen and potentially bruised for at least a week.
. You can manage swelling with painkillers recommended by your doctor, and with the use of cold compresses.
. Implants made of materials like silicone or titanium are permanent, though there is a small potential for them to shift or get infected.
. You should plan to avoid smoking and alcohol for at least a few weeks after surgery.
. Plan to sleep with your head elevated, and avoid sleeping face down.
. You will likely need to return about a week later to get your stitches removed and so the doctor can see how you are healing.
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