A chin sling is a thin plastic material implanted under the skin of the jaw and looped back over the ears during a facial rejuvenation procedure. The implant is designed to reduce the appearance of a sagging jaw line. If the jaw line loses its tightened appearance in the years after the chin sling is implanted, the device can be tightened to restore the original results. A chin sling may also refer to the supportive material wrapped around the jaw during recovery after a genioplasty, or a chin reshaping surgery.
An implanted chin sling compresses the fatty tissue that accumulates under the jaw as a person ages. Skin also loses its elasticity and the muscle fibers of the face become lax as the aging process continues. Surgically implanting a chin sling may help to restore the appearance of a youthful jaw line.
Before the procedure to implant the chin sling, the patient will be given anesthesia medications to eliminate any discomfort that may occur during the facial rejuvenation operation. Anesthetics are administered through the placement of an intravenous (IV) line into a suitable vein. First, a medication will be given that calms and sedates the patient, and then the painkilling medications will be added to the IV line until the procedure is completed.
During the operation, the plastic surgeon will make a small incision on the inside of the mouth or underneath the jaw line. The chin sling is inserted under the skin and is maneuvered into position and secured into place. Finally, the incision is sutured closed with absorbable prolene stitches.
After the sling is implanted, specific post-operative instructions should be followed to promote the healing process. Most plastic surgeons will recommend a diet of soft foods for two to three days following the procedure. A patient may be advised to wear an external sling for two to three days after the operation. The support provided by the chinstrap may help to reduce facial swelling after the implant operation.
Many patients experience discomfort and pain for a short time after the sling is implanted. Prescription painkillers may be given for up to ten days following the operation. If a person is still experiencing pain after this time, over the counter pain relievers and ice packs may be advised until the pain has disappeared.
Following the implantation of the sling, an appointment with the plastic surgeon will usually be scheduled to evaluate the healing process and the cosmetic effect the implant has had on the patient’s appearance. If the patient is unhappy with the results, the plastic surgeon may decide to tighten the straps of the chin sling. The adjustment is made during a minimally invasive procedure.