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Smart Ageing

The rise of the CHINPLANT

She was the epitome of beauty and glamour in her short life and last week it emerged that Marilyn Monroe might have had some surgical help in perfecting that face.

According to Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Norman Leaf, who claims to have seen x-rays of the star, Monroe underwent an operation in in which surgeons fitted her with a chin implant.

Now it seems more and more women are asking for a similar procedure, prompting pundits to ask: are chins the new breasts?

In fact,  The American Society of  Plastic Surgery reports that chin implants are the fastest growing cosmetic surgery procedure in recent years increasing in the US by a staggering 71 per cent between 2011 and 2012.

Now THAT'S a chin
Now THAT’S a chin, Real Housewives star Vicki Gunvalson

Celebrities who have had the procedure include Real Housewives star Vicki Gunvalson and plastic surgery enthusiast Heidi Montag (who has had 10 operations and has since admitted she regrets having so much surgery).

Plastic surgery enthusiast Heidi Montag includes a chin implant in the ten surgeries she has had since 2009
Plastic surgery enthusiast Heidi Montag includes a chin implant in the ten surgeries she has had since 2009

In the UK, clinic chain Transform Cosmetic Surgery reports requests for the procedure have doubled, 60 per cent form women and 40 per cent from men.

Although annual figures for the British Association of Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reported no annual rise in their last audit, surgeons report anecdotally that requests for chin implants have increased.

Indeed, Mr Nilesh Sojitra, a consultant plastic surgeon at Spire Hospital, Harpenden – who  works in the NHS – has done some 40 chin operations in the last two years.

During that time, Sojitra says demand in his practice for the procedure has increased by 30 per cent.

But why would someone opt for a chin implant? ‘If your chin is weak or small you nose can look bigger,’ says Mr Sojitra. ‘Some patients come in requesting a nose operation when it’s in fact their short chin that is out of balance with their profile.  Once we show them that, they might opt for a chin implant instead.’

There are two ways surgeons currently enhance a weak chin, he explains. ‘The first is using a chin implant, made of the same material as silicone breast implants.’

During the operation which is done under a general anaesthetic and takes about 45 minutes, a surgeon can make a small incision on the inside of the mouth, just behind the bottom lip and inserts the small silicone implant before stitching up the inside lip.

‘The patient may feel numbness inside the mouth and not be able to eat for 12 hours .  They may be bruised around their chin and mouth for about two weeks and need this time off work,’ he says. This option leaves a small scar inside the lip.

Alternatively, some surgeons may insert the chin implant through a small incision they make at the base of the patient’s chin.  ‘With this procedure when the patient looks up you might see a scar about three and a half centimetres long,’ says Mr Sojitra.

These procedures cost around £4-4500 and come with a one in 100 risk of infection. If you’re not happy it can be removed.

Some patients however, prefer not to have a foreign object isuch as the silicon chin implant inside their bodies.

‘In such cases we might opt for using a fat transfer procedure to enhance the chin,’ says Mr Sojitra.  Fat is extracted using liposuction from any part of the body – commonly the tummy but also the neck – and some of it can be injected into the chin to help build it up.

However, in about one in ten cases fat transfer may leave the chin with lumps and bumps instead of a smooth and natural result.

Plus, it takes about three months for the fat to grow and attach itself to its new location and during this process, only 60 – 70 per cent of the fat injected into the chin will survive.

‘If you’re not happy with this result and feel you need more fat injected, you might need another procedure,’ explains Sojitra.

Each fat transfer costs about £3-3500.

So what makes a perfect chin then? ‘When you look at the profile of a face, there should be a straight line going from the lips to the chin.

Could she be any more perfect? Turns out, Angelina has the ideal chin size and shape too
Could she be any more perfect? Turns out, Angelina has the ideal chin size and shape too

‘If the chin is not in line and recedes or protrudes the face can look unbalanced,’ says Mr Sojitra.

So what if your chin is protruding? ‘Some plastic surgeons can saw off the sides of the jaw and part of the chin and make breaks in the bone that allow them to reset the chin further back,’ he explains. Ouch.

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