Facial beauty is not a simple matter of eye color or the shape of your lips. It derives from the combination of your features into a balanced and harmonious whole. When one element seems out of place, the overall impression suffers.
Rhinoplasty, or nose surgery, is well known as a cosmetic procedure that can subtly enhance your face’s beauty. An overly long or wide nose, or one that seems too short or flat for your face, can throw your features out of balance. The nose, is, after all, your face’s central feature. If the shape of your nose is out of harmony with your other features, it can draw attention away from the beauty of your eyes and mouth. A quick web search for celebrity nose jobs shows how many stars owe their special beauty to rhinoplasty procedures.
But the chin can have as significant an effect on facial beauty as the nose. And because the chin is not the central feature of the face, people considering plastic surgery often overlook chin augmentation or chin implants. Plastic surgeons often find, on consultation with patients, that people looking for one procedure would benefit more from another. This principle is especially true when it comes to rhinoplasty and chin augmentation.
A problem with the shape of your chin can draw attention to your nose, for example. That can make you think your nose is the problem, while a change to your chin might be the better solution. The structure of your cheekbones or brow ridge can make the imbalance between your nose and chin seem even worse, further confusing your idea of what to surgically improve.
Facial plastic surgeons know rhinoplasty and chin augmentation can make the most dramatic improvements to a person’s appearance. In this article, we’ll look at the factors that might draw you to consider one procedure or the other. And we’ll look at the benefit, for many people, of having both procedures together.
HOW RHINOPLASTY CAN ENHANCE YOUR BEAUTY
Both rhinoplasty and chin augmentation can be effective in bringing your facial features into more beautiful harmony. Let’s look at the benefits of rhinoplasty first, and why you might consider nose surgery over a chin procedure.
In a rhinoplasty procedure, the surgeon reshapes the nose by altering the underlying structure of bone and cartilage. This process might involve paring thin strips of bone from one part of the nose and moving them to another part. Or, it might require grafting tissue to build up a low nose bridge or to extend the tip of the nose.
The changes made in rhinoplasty are as varied as the shapes of human noses. Skilled surgeons customize each procedure based on the patient’s unique nasal anatomy, facial features, and aesthetic goals. The underlying structure of bone and cartilage is both the starting point and a limit on what a doctor can alter, as is the quality of the patient’s skin, especially its thickness. The other facial features form the context in which the reshaped nose must harmonize. And the patient’s goals for the procedure drive the surgical plan.
Here are some of the ways rhinoplasty can enhance facial beauty by reshaping the nose.
- Correct a hump on the bridge of the nose: A prominent hump can make the nose appear larger than it is. Reducing the hump can create a smaller-seeming nose in better balance with the other facial features.
- Straighten a broken, crooked, or asymmetrical nose: Whether the nose is naturally out of alignment or has become that way through injury, rhinoplasty can restore attractive symmetry.
- Make the nose shorter or longer: Rhinoplasty can shorten or lengthen a nose that appears too long or too short compared to other facial features.
- Narrow a nose that is overly wide: Nose surgery can make any part of the nose narrower, from the bridge to the tip to the spread of the nostrils.
- Build up a nose that is too small or too flat: By adding grafted tissue or other material, rhinoplasty can raise a low nose bridge or build up the tip of the nose.
The challenge in choosing between rhinoplasty and chin augmentation is that facial context is paramount. If you feel your nose is too large, for example, that is probably because it looks prominent in relation to your other facial features. If you have a recessed chin, that will make your nose stand out more than it would if you had a larger chin. In some cases, chin augmentation or a combination of chin enhancement and a minimal nose reduction might be a better solution.
In the same way, if you have small or recessed cheekbones, that can make your nose appear larger. An inexpert plastic surgeon, overcompensating for that imbalance, could reduce the size of your nose to the point where it looks too small, a mistake that could be challenging to correct.
Your gender identity also makes a huge difference in the ideal shape of your nose. Women tend to have curved noses in profile, and our beauty standards typically consider this curve more attractive. The ideal nose for a man is straight. It’s also more acceptable for men to have prominent noses than it is for women.
Another consideration in choosing between rhinoplasty over a chin enhancement is the complexity of the procedure. Rhinoplasty is among the most difficult of all cosmetic surgeries to perform. To do it well, with a minimum risk of disappointing results, a surgeon must have extensive training and experience in nasal surgery and a deep understanding of the diversity of facial beauty. A thin, pert nose that looks great on one person might look completely out of place on another. And correcting an undesirable rhinoplasty outcome is even more complicated than the original surgery. So the first consideration when thinking about rhinoplasty should be to choose a qualified and highly skilled plastic surgeon. A chin implant that doesn’t meet your expectations, on the other hand, is easy to remove or replace.
WHEN TO CONSIDER CHIN AUGMENTATION
Chin augmentation is plastic surgery to add volume and definition to the chin. It can correct a weak, receding, or under-projected chin that gives the face an imbalanced appearance. As a relatively simple procedure, chin augmentation can often make a dramatic improvement in facial harmony.
There are two approaches to chin augmentation. Those who only need small to moderate enhancements often see excellent results with injections of dermal fillers such as Perlane, Radiesse, or Juvéderm Voluma. More significant — and more permanent — chin augmentation relies on a surgically inserted medical-grade implant. Custom-made silicone or Merseline mesh implants are typical for chin augmentation. The surgeon places the implant on the jawbone, so that it lies under the muscles and other chin tissue, through an incision made inside the mouth.
As with rhinoplasty, the goal of chin augmentation is to create harmony with your other facial features. The plastic surgeon will analyze not only the shape of your chin, but also how it relates to the other aspects of your face, including the shape of your nose and the slope of your forehead. One general guideline is a profile view: The chin projection should approach a vertical line dropped from the lower lip.
A chin augmentation can correct a weak or recessed chin and a poor facial profile. It can also make the nose appear to be in better harmony with the face.
How can a change to the chin make the nose more attractive? Facial aesthetics are all about harmony among the different features. Context is everything. There is no such thing as a perfect nose or chin. When we perceive a face as beautiful, we are judging how all the features work together, not whether each feature meets some fixed ideal.
In a way, our perception of facial beauty is like the optical illusions we have seen that ask us which of two lines is longer. One line might look longer because of its context, but it turns out they’re identical. Similarly, the nose’s relationship with the chin can drive the perception of a nose as large or bulbous. Raising the chin or making it more prominent can make what had seemed to be an unattractive nose look perfectly fine. Strengthening the profile of the chin can work to bring the appearance of the nose into balance.
Gender identity is another crucial factor in choosing between rhinoplasty and chin augmentation. For men, chin projection is far more essential than a perfectly straight nose. A strong chin, for a man, suggests confidence and masculinity. Enhancing the chin increases sex appeal more than a small change to the nose ever could. In contrast, we perceive women with too much chin projection as unfeminine. The goal of chin augmentation for a woman should be to correct a weak or receding chin and to bring the features of the face into balance, but not to build the chin out too much.
We mentioned that small or recessed cheekbones can make your nose seem larger and that this visual effect can lead to unnecessary or overly dramatic nose surgery. If this is your issue, it may make more sense to consider a chin implant than rhinoplasty. It might surprise you how a change in your chin profile can make your nose appear less prominent. Cheek fillers are another option.
WHEN TO CONSIDER COMBINING RHINOPLASTY WITH CHIN AUGMENTATION
If you have a weak or receding chin and a nose shape that bothers you, you might benefit from a combined rhinoplasty and chin augmentation procedure. The key, when making this decision, is to consider all your facial features together in consultation with a skilled plastic surgeon.
We’ve described the cosmetic issues rhinoplasty and chin augmentation can correct and how each can affect facial balance. For some people, the ideal solution is to have both procedures. The goal of plastic surgery is to make subtle changes for beautiful and natural-looking results. When you have rhinoplasty and chin augmentation performed together, small adjustments to your appearance through each procedure can create more subtle and attractive results than either surgery can on its own. When done together, the two approaches can also have surprising effects on the appearance of other facial features, making your lips look fuller, changing the apparent distance between your eyes, and making your cheekbones look more attractive.
There are other benefits to combining the surgeries, too, when compared to having them separately at different times. You’ll save money with a single dose of anesthesia and you’ll go through recovery only once, without having to plan for two stretches of downtime.
GET GOOD ADVICE
Facial balance and harmony are complicated and subjective, and beauty is an individual matter. If you’re not sure which option is right for you, a board-certified plastic surgeon can advise you. When you’ve identified a plastic surgeon with expertise in both procedures, schedule a consultation to learn how rhinoplasty or chin augmentation — or both — might work to enhance your natural beauty.
Dr. Parker Velargo at the New Orleans Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery is a board-certified plastic surgeon and a specialist in facial cosmetic surgery. Call us at (504) 533-8848 or contact us today to schedule a consultation.