Cleft Chin Surgery

Medically reviewed by Catherine Hannan, MD on November 3, 2017Written by Kristeen Cherney on November 3, 2017

What is a cleft chin?

A cleft chin refers to a chin with a Y-shaped dimple in the middle. It’s usually a genetic trait.

Depending on your preference, you may consider cleft chins a sign of beauty or not. You can both add and remove a cleft chin with chin surgery, also called mentoplasty.

Before having surgery to create or remove a cleft chin, it’s important to understand the structure behind cleft chins. You’ll also want to consider the risks and costs associated with surgery.

Cleft chin

Cleft chin | Image source: Photo: Paul Stumpr | Flickr

What causes a cleft chin?

Whether or not you’re born with a cleft chin depends on your genes. If other people in your family have a cleft chin, you’re more likely to have one as well.

The signature dimple of cleft chins forms before birth. This happens when the two sides of the lower jaw don’t completely fuse together during fetal development. Aside from the dimple, this doesn’t cause any other symptoms.

Surgical options

There are surgical options for both removing and creating a cleft chin.

Surgery to remove a cleft chin

Chin surgery can either remove a cleft chin or reduce the size of the dimple. Both are usually done with a chin implant that’s designed to fill in the dimple. Your surgeon will work with you to determine the right implant shape for the look you’re after.

You’ll likely have swelling in your chin immediately after surgery, which can make it hard to see your new chin. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks to months for the final results to appear.

Surgery to add a cleft chin

Creating a cleft chin, on the other hand, doesn’t involve any implants. Instead, your surgeon will remove some of the soft tissue below the skin where the dimple should be placed. This is done either with liposuction or a traditional surgical method.

If there’s not enough extra tissue around the dimple, your surgeon may need to remove some of the bone. This is usually done with a small cutting device called a bur, which is inserted through your mouth.

Similar to removing a cleft chin, it can take up to several months to see results after having surgery to create a cleft chin.

Preparation and safety

While mentoplasty is generally safe, it does carry a few risks regardless of whether you’re removing or adding a cleft chin.

These risks include:

  • infection
  • excessive bleeding
  • scarring
  • swelling
  • undesirable results

You can help to reduce these risks by telling your doctor if you:

All of these factors can make surgery more dangerous. Depending on the type of surgery, your surgeon may be able to use different techniques to reduce your risk of having problems.

It’s also important to be prepared for a long recovery period. While your surgeon can estimate how long you’ll need to recover, that timeline varies from person to person. You may recovery faster or slower, depending on your overall health and the type of surgery you have.

If at any point you feel your chin isn’t healing properly, contact your surgeon. They may need to make some adjustments or ensure you don’t have an infection.

How much does surgery cost?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of chin surgery is about $2,225. However, that number depends on the type of work you have done. For example, removing bone usually costs more than adding an implant.

Keep in mind that this number doesn’t include the cost of anesthesia and any related hospital fees. In addition, your insurance company may not cover cosmetic chin surgery. Talk to your medical team and insurance company before booking your surgery so you’re prepared for all related costs.

The bottom line

Cleft chins are a genetic trait marked by a dimple in the middle of your chin. Depending on personal preference, you may want to either add or remove a cleft chin. You can achieve both of these with surgery.

Work with a surgeon to come up with the best technique for the look you desire. and make sure you’re aware of all the costs involved before going in for the procedure.

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