Cosmetic Maxillofacial Surgery

Cosmetic maxillofacial surgery is used to repair physical malformations resulting from disease, injury, burns, birth defects, or aging. It may also serve to restore normal function and improve individual appearance.

Because of their surgical and dental background, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are uniquely qualified in the treatment of the face, mouth, teeth and jaws. Extensive education and training in surgical procedures involving both the soft tissue (skin and muscle) and hard tissue (bone and cartilage) of the maxillofacial area, makes the oral and maxillofacial surgeon finely attuned to the importance of harmony between facial appearance and function.


Individuals elect to pursue cosmetic surgery for a variety of reasons. For some, the decision is prompted by the need to repair damage caused by accidents or birth defects. In many instances, however, individuals choose cosmetic surgery to improve their personal appearance.

This outlines some of the procedures available to you. In many cases, procedures complement one another and it is common for two or more procedures to be performed in a single operation.

Post-surgery discomfort associated with these procedures can range from minimal to moderate and is usually controlled with oral medications. Incisions are typically made within natural folds or creases of the face, making scars inconspicuous. Scars should fade significantly over time.

Before any procedure is performed, your surgeon will request a thorough medical history to evaluate your overall general health. A careful physical examination will also be conducted.

You will discuss the procedure to be performed, the anticipated results, expected changes in your appearance, type of anesthesia to be used, and possible risks and complications.

Cosmetic maxillofacial surgery may be performed on an outpatient basis in your oral and maxillofacial surgeon’s office, surgical facility, surgery center, or on an inpatient basis in the hospital, depending upon your surgeon’s and your preference. Surgery may be performed under general anesthesia, IV sedation, or local anesthesia.


While a majority of patients report enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem after their surgeries, it is important to understand that the goal of surgery is to improve appearance. Cosmetic maxillofacial surgery will refine and enhance features that already exist; it will not give you a new face or a new life. How much or how little change is realized depends on the individual and the extent of surgery. Your age, health, skin texture, bone structure and healing capacity are all factors that can affect the results of your surgery.

Your expectations and attitude also will play a major role in your recovery. It is important that you discuss the procedure thoroughly with your surgeon and proceed with realistic expectations.

Cosmetic maxillofacial surgery will require patience on your part. The final result of your surgery may not be immediately apparent. Each procedure outlined entails a reasonable recovery period during which you may experience some swelling, bruising and discomfort which are part of the normal healing process.

Cosmetic maxillofacial surgical procedures are relatively common, but as with any surgery, cosmetic surgery entails a measure of risk. You should discuss with your surgeon the possible risks and complications of the procedure under consideration.

Costs vary depending on the geographic area and the complexity of the procedure to be performed. Cosmetic maxillofacial surgery is often considered “elective” rather than medically necessary and, as such, it is normally not covered by insurance. Because insurance companies and policies vary, you should check with your agent to determine if your surgery is covered.


Botox injections are noted primarily for the ability to reduce the appearance of some facial wrinkles. Botox injections use a form of botulinum toxin to temporarily paralyze muscle activity and are also used to treat such problems as repetitive neck spasms (cervical dystonia), excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), overactive bladder and lazy eye. Botox injections may also help prevent chronic migraines in some people. It is important to make sure your surgeon is aware of all medications that you are taking before you undergo this procedure.

Facial Fillers
Facial fillers are temporary to long-lasting solutions administered through a few tiny facial injections on specific areas of the face. Injectable wrinkle fillers can give you a more youthful look for a fraction of what a traditional facelift costs. Most will fill lines and wrinkles in less than 30 minutes with results that can last from 4 months to more than a year. Injectable wrinkle fillers, unlike Botox injections that relax the muscle under a wrinkle, fill the line, crease, or area with one of several different substances. As a result, trouble spots nearly disappear. Wrinkle fillers can also be used as “volumizers,” plumping and lifting cheeks, jawlines, and temples; filling out thin lips, and plumping sagging hands.

Chin Surgery (Mentoplasty)
Mentoplasty can increase or reduce the size of the chin. The best candidate for chin surgery is the individual with a receding or protruding chin and a normal dental bite. For those whose bite needs correction, jaw surgery, in conjunction with mentoplasty may be necessary.

There are two basic procedures used in mentoplasty: one involves moving the chin bone forward or backward and the other, the use of an artificial chin prosthesis to add size to a receding chin. To move the bone forward or backward, the surgeon cuts through the chin bone. The lower portion of the bone is then moved forward or backward and wired or fixed to keep it securely in position.

A chin prosthesis can also be used to create a more prominent jaw. Using this technique, a prosthesis, similar in consistency to the natural chin and sized to fit the patient, is placed in front of the bone to increase the chin’s prominence.

Cheek Implant (Malar Augmentation)
Malar augmentation can give definition to a face that has flat contour because of underdeveloped cheekbones. The best candidate is the individual with a long narrow face, or very round face, and flat cheeks. This surgery can help to create the appearance of higher, more prominent cheekbones.

During the procedure, an incision is made either inside the mouth or immediately below the lower eyelids. Most frequently, using the internal approach, the surgeon makes as incision between the upper gums and the cheek. The surgeon then elevates the soft tissue, creating a small pocket over the cheekbone. A prosthesis, similar in consistency to the natural cheekbone and usually triangular in shape, is then inserted and placed over the cheekbone.

Facial Liposuction
Even people who are not overweight may be plagued by a double chin, saggy jowls or a very round face. Fat deposits in these locations may be hereditary or due to the natural aging process. These areas are often resistant to exercise and weight loss. Facial liposuction can benefit those who want to remove unsightly fat deposits from localized areas of the face. Individuals who are in good physical condition with good skin elasticity are the best candidates for this surgery.

The surgeon makes small incisions along the jaw line, in the cheeks or below the chin, depending upon which fat deposits are to be removed. A tube attached to a high pressure suction device is inserted deep in the fat. The surgeon moves the tube back and forth to loosen excess fat from surrounding tissue and then “vacuums” the loose fat from the face with the suction device.

Treatment of Facial Wrinkling (Chemical Peel)
Chemical peel is a procedure for treating skin that is wrinkled, scarred or otherwise damaged and is used for both cosmetic and therapeutic purposes. The procedure is helpful for wrinkles, light acne scarring, and irregular pigmentation such as freckles and age spots. Pre-cancerous conditions such as keratoses (thick, rough, reddish growths) also respond well to chemical peel.

There are several types of chemical peels: a light peel to remove superficial wrinkles, a medium depth peel, and a deep peel for more severe conditions. After thoroughly cleansing the skin, the surgeon uses a small applicator to apply the chemical solution to an area of the face. Excess solution is removed and the surgeon repeats the procedure on other areas.

The amount of improvement varies and depends upon the initial condition of the patient’s skin. Significant improvement of damaged skin has been achieved, which can produce dramatic results.

Facial Dermabrasion
Dermabrasion is a surgical procedure in which skin is “sanded” with a rotary abrasive instrument. This “sanding” evens out the skin to give it a smoother texture. Dermabrasion also may be used to treat tattoos, age (liver) spots, wrinkles and certain skin lesions.


Remember, the decision to have cosmetic maxillofacial surgery is not one to be entered into lightly. If you are interested in learning more about these procedures and determining if you are a candidate for cosmetic surgery, please contact our office at (405) 848-7994. We will be happy to answer your questions and arrange for an initial consultation.