Why choose jaw augmentation or jaw reduction surgery
Jaw augmentation is done as a gender affirming procedure for those seeking a more masculine appearance. Jaw reduction is done as a gender affirming procedure for those seeking a more feminine appearance. This may help to reduce gender dysphoria symptoms, as well as improve overall quality of life for trans-identifying individuals.
Jaw surgery isn't for everyone. Your doctor might caution against surgery if you:
- Have a significant history of facial trauma or dental misalignment
- Have a severe chronic condition, such as heart disease or diabetes
- Have a body mass index that's greater than 35
- Are a smoker
What to expect
- Before the procedure you will have a consultation with your surgeon where you will come up with an individualized plan, as well as have a discussion of expectations. Pictures will be obtained from various views for planning as well as comparison following the procedure.
- During the procedure you will be fully asleep (general anesthesia). Typically, incisions are under the chin, behind the angles and/or inside the mouth. Typically implants of varying sizes will be inserted and affixed with plates and/or screws (titanium) that are usually permanent. The incisions will be closed with sutures and drains may or may not be placed to help avoid blood collecting under the tissues.
- After the procedure it will be important to remain upright as much as possible to help reduce swelling and bruising. You might be instructed to alter your diet to improve comfort and healing. You may be prescribed antibiotics and narcotic pain medication for comfort. Ice therapy will typically be recommended to help reduce swelling.
You can expect immediate improvement of the jaw contour following the procedure, however commonly swelling will soon set in and will take a period of time to resolve. Most swelling will be improved in 3-4 weeks, however, do not expect final results for about 1 year after surgery.
Risks of jaw augmentation or jaw reduction surgery
- Jaw fracture. Manipulating the mandible can lead to weakening and therefore fractures, often resulting in misalignment of the teeth.
- Infection. Though still relatively uncommon, incisions made inside the mouth have an overall higher rate of infection given the bacterial environment, especially when inserting foreign materials like implants. These can often be managed with appropriate perioperative antibiotics and oral hygiene.
- Failure to achieve desired result. Patients may not notice the improvement they were hoping. Counseling on realistic expectations is imperative prior to undergoing surgery.
- Need for additional procedures. If any of the above are noted, it could mean additional procedures or surgeries would be performed for management.
- Swelling/bruising. Significant swelling or bruising is likely to develop after the procedure. Most swelling and bruising are expected to resolve within 3-4 weeks of the procedure.
- Unexpected scarring. The incision scars are hidden as much as possible, though might still be noticeable. The length and visibility of the scar varies from person to person.
- Changes in skin sensation. During a jaw reduction, the elevation of tissues can affect the nerves in the lower facial area. Additionally, nerves that travel through the bone to your lower lip could be damaged during the surgery, though this is unexpected. You'll likely feel some reduced sensation or numbness. This usually diminishes in the months after the procedure.