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Facial Surgery Information provided by Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Diego County

Chin Surgery

Some people are dissatisfied with the appearance of their chin because it is not prominent enough and appears "weak," is too prominent, or is simply disproportionate to the rest of the face. Chin surgery offers an alternative for reshaping and balancing the chin. It is often coupled with nose surgery, face lifts, or other facial plastic surgeries in order to optimize the balance of facial features.

Procedure
There are two primary types of chin surgery: 1) chin augmentation, which builds up and expands the chin, and 2) chin reduction, which reduces the size of the chin's projection. In chin augmentation, a surgeon makes a small incision in the natural crease under the chin or in the mouth. Tissue is gently stretched and a synthetic implant is inserted. In chin reduction, a small incision is made under the chin in or in the mouth. The surgeon reshapes the chin by either sculpting or repositioning the bone and soft tissue. If required, liposuction may be used to remove excess fat. In both cases, fine sutures are used to close the incision. Chin surgery generally takes between 1 and 3 hours.

Recovery
The surgeon applies a dressing on the area, which is left in place for one or two days. Eating and chewing is restricted for the first few days following surgery, requiring soft food or a liquid diet. Patients may experience some swelling and bruising after the surgery as well as mild tenderness. These symptoms generally subside over the course of 2 to 6 weeks. Most patients are able to return to normal activity within 10 days to 2 weeks. However, there may be some limits to physical activity for 4 to 6 weeks following the surgery.

There is the possibility of infection following any surgery. Your surgeon will likely prescribe antibiotics to avoid infection in addition to any pain medication. Bruising and swelling is common for the first few days following surgery. In rare cases, an implant may shift or become unaligned, requiring a second, corrective surgery.

Cheek and Facial Implants

An individual's facial appearance derives, first and foremost, from the skeleton. Skin stretches over the underlying bone structure, which creates the essential shapes for each person's face. Sometimes bones in one area are not balanced or prominent enough for the other facial elements. In these cases, facial implants can be used to contour certain features, including the chin, cheeks, jaw and nose. Sometimes facial implant surgery is conducted at the same time as face lifts, nose surgery or other procedures treating the same area of the face.

Procedure
The procedure for all facial implants is generally the same. The surgeon makes small incisions near the area being treated and in natural folds or creases that will hide any scars. The surgeon chooses from a variety of types and sizes of implants that best match the individual's needs. Fine sutures are used to close the incision. Most facial implant surgeries take between 1 and 2 hours to complete.

Recovery
The incisions are bandaged or taped for a day or two. Most patients return to normal activity within 10 days to two weeks. There is the possibility of infection following any surgery. Your surgeon will likely prescribe antibiotics to avoid infection in addition to any pain medication. Bruising and swelling is common for the first few days following surgery. You may also be advised to limit some types of physical activity for 4 to 6 weeks following the surgery.

Ear Surgery

Ear surgery is a long-used technique designed to correct protruding ears or ear deformities in children and adults. Most ear protrusions occur because of abnormalities in the development of the cartilage. In some cases, there is an imbalance in the shape and size of one person's ears or peculiar shaping of the ear. Because ears are fully formed by about the age of four, this procedure is safe for children.

Procedure
Ear surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic and sedation and takes between 2 and 3 hours to complete. A small incision is made in the back of the ear where the ear meets the head. The surgeon then removes excess skin and cartilage and may further sculpt the cartilage to reshape the ear. The cartilage is secured to the head with permanent sutures to keep the ear pinned back. In some cases, the surgeon uses temporary sutures to hold the ear in place while it heals. The incision is closed with sutures.

Recovery
Following the surgery, the patient's head may be wrapped in heavy dressing to aid in healing. After a few days, this will be replaced with a lighter dressing or headband, which may be required for up to 2 weeks following the surgery. Stitches are removed or will dissolve in about one week. Most patients are back to normal activity within one week, although care must be taken to avoid any activity that might bend the ear for an additional few weeks. A small scar will remain behind the ear, but is usually not visible.

For more information visit The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).