It is a well-known fact that the more skeletal projection a person has in their chin, the better supported soft tissues in the neck are. This helps create a crisper angle compared to a recessed chin, allowing for a more defined jawline and neck over time.
How Genetics are Involved
Genetic growth of your lower jaw compared to the upper jaw and base of the skull can greatly affect your overall appearance. If a person has a slightly smaller lower jaw, it can also affect their dental occlusion (known as your “bite”). In most cases, an orthodontist can correct the bite to even the teeth between the jaws, but it will not correct the associated skeletal differences. That’s where we come in.
Cosmetic Surgery for the Chin & Neck Areas
If there are big differences that affect occlusion jaw surgeries may be warranted. However, smaller lower jaws often come with unsupported soft tissues of the neck and even in a younger person, the angle of the chin and neck can be obtuse. Instead of a crisp, 90-degree angle, an obtuse angle will add to the appearance of a heavier neck and loose or hanging skin in many older patients.
The above patient photos are a good example of this. You’ll notice the lack of definition of the lateral jaw line, where there is an obtuse chin neck angle. Because the chin is recessed, the nose takes on a greater prominence in the before photo (left) compared to the after photo (right).
How We Help Enhance This Area of the Body
First, a detailed physical exam and orthodontic evaluation is performed by Dr. Lucas, coupled with an assessment of the quantity and quality of the skin and underlying fat of the neck.
For a recessed chin, as long as the length from the nose/forehead junction to the undersurface of the nose is similar to the length from under the nose to under the chin distance, a straight horizontal enhancement can be done via a chin implant. This will help normalize the jawline and improve the length of the chin. If the length from the undersurface of the nose to the undersurface of the chin is significantly longer than the midface length, then a small cut of the chin is required to help achieve both horizontal and vertical symmetry.
Next comes the assessment of the skin of the neck. If the patient is young with good quality skin, limited fat removal via liposuction with complete undermining of the entire anterior and lateral neck can help enhance the definition of their neck and lateral jawline. This typically also requires guided re-draping of the tissue, so the patient will need to wear a chin strap for a few weeks but will often result in the appearance of weight loss.
For older patients looking to rejuvenate this area, if the skin of the neck is loose and hanging, it requires a face and neck lift to achieve the same soft tissue response as liposuction in many younger patients.
If a small lower jaw and poorly defined neck is affecting your confidence, reach out to The Lucas Center at (865) 218-6210 or visit us online to book a personalized consultation.