Even in a post-pandemic world, there is still an appetite for combining different cosmetic procedures — when possible — in order to achieve optimal results and maximize downtime. One classic pairing that plastic surgeons often recommend due to the harmonious result it creates: rhinoplasty and chin augmentation. Here, we break down the benefits and balance of the common combo.
The Benefits of Combining Rhinoplasty & Chin Augmentation
As we’ve covered, facial harmony is about proportion, and changing the proportion of the nose can have an impact on the appearance of the chin. So, it should come as no surprise that it’s common to combine nasal surgery with chin enhancement procedures — and some patients even tack on a few more things. “Very often, they’re also combined with a little submental liposuction to really define the jawline along its whole length,” says Dara Liotta, MD, a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in New York City. She calls this combination of rhinoplasty, chin implant, and submental liposuction a “profile makeover.”
Pairing these procedures (in the right patient) helps balance the face and allows the results of the individual procedures to make the greatest impact, Dr. Liotta says. “Combining procedures to achieve a more ideal profile can actually help the results of rhinoplasty look more natural — like your profile was meant to be like that,” she notes.
Another benefit? Minimizing cost and downtime. “Combining procedures minimizes downtime and saves a bit of money because there’s one anesthesia and one recovery,” says Jennifer Levine, MD, a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in NYC. “Who doesn’t like that?” In addition to the potential cost savings, you also can consolidate your healing time when you safely undergo more than one procedure at the same time. “With a rhinoplasty, you will have a cast and sometimes stitches for six to seven days,” she explains. “The chin implant has a bandage and stitches for the same amount of time.”
The Best Candidate for Rhinoplasty + Chin Augmentation
So, how do you determine if you are an ideal candidate to combine rhinoplasty and chin augmentation? “Someone who has a recessed chin and/or has poor definition in the neck area is a good candidate for these procedures,” says Edward Kwak, MD, a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in NYC. “And a good candidate for rhinoplasty is someone who wants to change the shape of their nose, improve breathing function, or both.”
In some cases, the contour of the chin may be creating an optical illusion of sorts. “Many times, patients may feel that their nose is too large, but really the nose looks bigger because the chin is too small,” Dr. Levine notes. Even so, people don’t always appreciate the role of the chin in balancing the face. “Chin augmentation is often overlooked because most of us look more at the other parts of our face,” she adds, yet a 2010 study found that as many as 81 percent of patients may see the benefit of pairing rhinoplasty with chin augmentation.
It should be noted, however, that some patients — specifically, those who have issues with their mandible or maxilla (i.e. jawbones) — may require more advanced treatment. “These patients would need a more extensive procedure for their lower face,” Dr. Levine cautions. Additionally, those with extensive dental concerns may not be a good candidate for these procedures. “If the teeth are not aligned well, it may indicate a bigger issue,” she says.
Performing Rhinoplasty + Chin Augmentation Together
When combining rhinoplasty, chin augmentation, and liposuction, it’s up to your surgeon to decide what order they will operate in. “I personally like to do the submental liposuction followed by the chin implant and then the rhinoplasty last,” Dr. Liotta says. By doing the nose last, patients can wake up from anesthesia and start icing as soon as possible, which should help minimize bruising and swelling. “I think it makes for a better, easier, recovery,” she explains.
If they are being performed at the same time, Dr. Levine also places the chin implant first. “It is considered a clean procedure, while the nose itself is less sterile,” she says. But, if the procedures are being performed at separate times, she usually schedules the rhinoplasty first. The reasoning? The nose is typically what bothers the patient the most.
Recovering from Rhinoplasty + Chin Augmentation
Regardless of the procedure(s), Dr. Kwak always stresses the importance of preoperative and postoperative care with his patients. “It is very important to note that one’s final result is determined by this care — no strenuous activity, no touching of any incisions or casts, etc.,” he says. Recovering from any cosmetic surgery requires patience, but rhinoplasty, in particular, takes time. Dr. Kwak notes the healing journey for this pair takes approximately a year.
Recovering from Chin Augmentation
Interestingly enough, Dr. Liotta finds that patients actually have a harder time recovering from the chin implant than the rhinoplasty. “I think people are used to seeing the black eyes and swelling of rhinoplasty recovery, and they’re prepared mentally to wait a full year for final results,” she explains. “But the recovery process after chin implant is much less publicized and written about, so I find that patients have a harder time with the small amount of swelling and tenderness that go along with it.” Feeling like your chin is “huge” after surgery is normal, Dr. Liotta says. The final results of chin implants and submental liposuction are seen around six months post-op.
Dr. Levine has patients wear a stretchy chin strap and ice the area for the first 48 hours. After that window, the strap is removed. “Bruising is rare but possible, and there will be some generalized swelling in the area for at least a week,” she says. Sleeping with the head elevated for about two weeks is also recommended.
Additionally, chin augmentation patients may require a soft foods or liquid diet for several days as they heal, as chewing can irritate the newly adjusted tissue and muscle, Dr. Kwak says. Vigorous activity or exercise is discouraged for the first few weeks, but it can soon be resumed — along with a normal work schedule — within about 10 to 14 days, he adds. “Remember that although your fabulous results may be visible right away, they can continue to improve for up to six weeks as your swelling gradually reduces,” he cautions.
Recovering from Rhinoplasty
Most patients who undergo rhinoplasty surgery (with or without chin augmentation) should be prepared to take two weeks off from work and daily activities. “The early stages of recovery are the most difficult, mostly due to swelling, which leaves you with a stuffy nose,” Dr. Kwak says. Once that step is over, most patients report recovery is easier and less painful than expected.
You’ll have a small plastic cast on the nose and a few stitches under the nose for about a week. When the cast and stitches are removed, most people only have a tiny bit of residual black eye. “Black eyes fully resolve by around 10 days,” Dr. Liotta shares. Although it does take a full year to enjoy the final results of rhinoplasty, “you can return to normal activity without anyone knowing you did anything” after about a week and half, she says.
With that said, be prepared to experience residual swelling for 12 months. Dr. Liotta tells patients to expect around 85 percent of the swelling to be gone in a month and 95 percent in six months. All the swelling is generally resolved by the one-year mark.
Whether your aesthetic concerns center around the shape and size of your nose or the prominence of your chin, evaluating the proportion of those two facial features before choosing to undergo a cosmetic procedure is important to ensure the most balanced outcome. For some patients, combining a rhinoplasty with a chin augmentation (think: permanent chin implant or temporary filler) will be the best way to maximize your time, budget, and results.
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