A strong jaw line is a physical suggestion of confidence, youth, and vigor. Features of the lower-third of the face that are lacking in definition or symmetry can influence self-esteem in men and women alike. Aesthetic orthognathic surgery, more commonly known simply as jaw surgery, is a procedure to enhance the shape, size, and contours of the jaw, while simultaneously correcting any functional issues that may be present.
There are a number of factors that can attribute to a weak jaw line. Some people are born with smaller jaws, or mandibular hypoplasia (an underdevelopment of the jaw). You may have a retrusive jaw (one that is displaced backwards from a central position), or would just like to enhance or augment the size or shape of your jaw. Vertical maxillary excess, also known as a “gummy smile,” or too much teeth showing can be corrected with aesthetic orthognathic surgery.
Ideal candidates for orthognathic surgery are in generally good physical health, non-smokers, and do not have any medical conditions that may impede the healing process.
To best determine if you are a candidate for aesthetic orthognathic surgery, schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. In some cases, issues of the jaw line may be better treated with a different procedure, such as genioplasty, a neck lift, or liposuction.
If you believe you are a candidate for aesthetic orthognathic surgery, contact the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago for a consultation. A board-certified plastic surgeon will review your medical history and perform a full facial evaluation to see if this procedure is the best treatment option for your aesthetic goals. We will take the time to explain all aspects of the procedure, including recovery, cost, any potential risks associated with aesthetic orthognathic surgery.
After general anesthesia is administered, incisions are made, typically inside the mouth. From there, the process of performing the procedure varies. Aesthetic orthognathic surgery usually involves cutting either the upper or lower jaw, realigning the affected bones, and then using plates and screws to hold them in place. These techniques are used to improve the overall aesthetic balance of the face.
During the procedure, the jaw is typically wired shut with stainless steel wires to ensure that the bones are correctly positioned. After surgery, these wires are removed and rubber bands are used to allow the bones ample time to heal in the new positions.
Lastly, sutures are used to close the incisions. Oral sutures are usually absorbable, so they will not have to be removed later.
Bruising and swelling at and around the surgical site is normal after orthognathic surgery. Your plastic surgeon will prescribe pain medication and give specific instructions regarding diet and physical activity. A liquid diet is typical in the days following the procedure, and patients should not perform any rigorous activity until they are cleared by their plastic surgeon to do so.
Rubber bands will be placed for a short period of time after the procedure to help keep the bones in their new positions while they heal. Your plastic surgeon will discuss this with you during your consultation so that you understand the full recovery process.
The results of aesthetic orthognathic surgery will be apparent after swelling and bruising go away completely, usually within two months after the procedure is performed.
Every surgical procedure involves some potential risk. The complications generally associated with orthognathic surgery include:
- Changes in skin sensation
- Mouth or lip numbness
You should always ensure that your surgeon is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery before undergoing any surgical procedure, and that the surgery is being carried out in an accredited surgical facility.
The national average cost for orthognathic surgery, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, is around $18,000. This figure will vary according to your location, the surgeon, and your particular aesthetic goals. In some cases, health insurance may cover some of the cost if the jaw is misaligned, under or overdeveloped, or if a congenital defect is apparent. You should speak with your health insurance provider before scheduling a consultation.
At the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago, we are happy to answer any questions you may have about aesthetic orthognathic surgery. If you believe you may be a candidate for this procedure, give us a call to schedule a consultation and speak with a board-certified plastic surgeon.
All surgical procedures by the Plastic Surgery Clinic of Chicago are performed at top hospitals in Chicago and CMS or AAAASF-certified surgical centers for safety.