Washington DC plastic surgery patients may have various complaints of the their chin. A double chin and weak chin are common, but also a dimpled chin or wrinkled chin.
Chin concerns are due to various causes. Patients may have been born with a cleft chin, weak chin, or dimpled chin. Some receding or double chins can gradually occur over time with age. One group of patients include those with an overbite, who are predisposed to a double chin or weak chin. As with many aspects of plastic surgery, underlying anatomy is a very important factor.
One anatomic aspect of chin surgery that plastic surgeons consider is the mentalis muscle. The position, size, and relative tension of this muscle can affect the appearance of the chin.
What is the mentalis muscle?
The mentalis muscle is one muscle of the chin. This chin muscle extends from the bottom of the central chin to the crease under the lower lip. The mentalis muscle is a paired group, with one muscle on each side of the chin and a small gap in the middle. The mentalis muscle elevates the lower lip and contributes to pouting of the lips.
Patients who are born with a weak chin or have an overbite may have strain in the mentalis muscle or a high-riding muscle, which can present with or without lower lip incompetence. Patients weak chins may unconsciously keep their lips open. The chin can dimple from this muscle strain or muscle activity.
Sometimes the mentalis muscle is not attached to the lower chin bone, either from birth or prior jaw surgery, as a result, it’s in a higher position than typical. A high-riding mentalis muscle may give the chin a more blunted appearance when viewed in profile or more “button” or ball-like appearance on front view.
Relaxing the mentalis muscle
Muscle relaxers, such as Botox®, Dysport®, and now Jeuveau™, can temporarily smooth the skin. These relaxers are injections often given to smooth wrinkles in the forehead, but are also commonly used in the chin.
A hyperactive, strained mentalis muscle can be temporarily relaxed with injections to help smooth a dimpled chin. Some plastic surgeons and dermatologists refer to this muscle tension appearance as peau d’orange, French for “orange peel skin”. The chin has dimpled texture of an orange peel. Anywhere from approximately 5-20 units of Botox may be given to relax the mentalis muscle and improve the appearance of the chin. Botox and Dysport can be given before and/or after chin surgery as appropriate.
The mentalis muscle in chin surgery
Chin surgery includes procedures such as chin liposuction, chin augmentation with implant, or jaw surgery. Plastic surgeons may also combine surgery, such as liposuction with a chin implant for enhanced results.
Unlike neck lift surgery where the underlying muscle is often lifted or tightened, during chin surgery, the mentalis muscle is preserved. Plastic surgeons don’t lift this muscle as part of chin surgery. Chin implants, whether placed through a small incision under the chin or inside the mouth, are placed deep or under the mentalis muscle. The chin implant is placed onto of bone and the mentalis muscle slides over the implant. Initially after chin surgery, the chin area or muscle may feel “tight” and gradually resolves with time.
Do you prefer smoother skin? Then consider relaxers such as Botox and Dysport to relax overactive muscle. Contact the office and schedule a consultation.