Cleft Chin Surgery: What Is It?
A cleft chin is a congenital facial deformity that occurs when one side of the face grows into the other. There are different types of clefts including mandibular (mouth) clefts, palatal (ear) clefts, nasal clefts and orofacial (face) clefts. A cleft may cause some degree of mental retardation, hearing loss, vision problems and other physical defects. Some people with clefts have no symptoms at all.
The term “cleft” refers to the shape of the nose. Most people think that it means a gap between the nostrils, but there are many kinds of clefts which do not involve such a gap. For example, the cleft of the ear is a hole in the middle of each ear. The cleft of the lip is a gap between two teeth. The cleft of the cheekbone is a gap between your upper and lower jaw bones.
And so on…
How Does Cleft Chin Affect Your Life?
People with clefts usually experience social isolation because they cannot form friendships due to their lack of friends. They become suspicious and fearful of others.
They may wonder:
Why don’t I have any friends?”
Why isn’t anyone willing to be with me?”
Do I have bad breath?”
Do I talk too much?”
Do I smell bad?”
These questions can be answered over time. Friendships develop slowly. You might have to talk to people several times before they become willing to be in your company. You may have to try different kinds of dental hygiene and mouthwash to find what works for you. You may have to try different deodorants before you find the one that works.
However, some people with a cleft chin cannot find a friend even after trying their best. This is part and parcel of life. Some people are simply not meant to have friends. This can lead to social anxiety and even depression in some cases.
As you may have guessed, a cleft chin can severely limit your quality of life. It can hurt your confidence and make you feel insecure about yourself. If you’re a teenager, it can also cause problems with your peers. The tormenting from other teenagers can be emotional and physical.
How Can Cleft Chin Be Removed?
A cleft chin can be removed with plastic surgery. During the operation, your surgeon makes a long cut across your chin and stitches it back together after removing the cleft part of your jaw. The incision is usually hidden in your beard if you are a man or in your sideburns if you’re a woman.
The surgery is fairly simple and recovery is fast. The only major side-effect is that you will have a scar across your chin. However, if the cleft is not too deep, the scar may be hidden in your beard or sideburns as mentioned above.
How Much Does It Cost?
Surgery cost can range from $3,000 to $15,000 depending on the surgeon, hospital fees and whether or not you have medical insurance. Costs of medical procedures can be very difficult to predict because there are so many factors to take into consideration. For example, if you have an unusual condition then it may require more time and effort on the surgeon’s part. This may add cost on to the procedure.
If you are uninsured then you may have to pay the full cost out of pocket. But even if you are insured it still possible that you may have to pay a portion of the cost. Before the procedure, you will have to pay a co-payment which will vary depending on your insurance plan.
In either case, the costs can be burdensome.
Is it worth paying such a large sum of money to remove a defect from your face?
That is for you to decide.
What If You Can’t Afford It?
If you are absolutely unable to pay for surgery, there are some options available to you. These options won’t be easy but they are possible.
One option is to live happily without a cleft chin. This may sound difficult but in truth, most people don’t give your cleft chin a second thought. Only you are aware of your condition and this can be a source of great comfort if not relief.
The second option is to live with the condition. It can have a negative impact on your life but only you can decide how much it affects you personally. It’s possible that you may never find a job because of it, but you may also find that people are able to look past your physical appearance in order to see who you truly are on the inside.
The third and final option is to do nothing at all. The cleft chin may cause you pain and anguish for the rest of your life but there is no cure except death. Make peace with yourself and learn how to love the person that you are on the inside even if you don’t like the person that you see in the mirror every morning.
Sources & references used in this article:
Chin surgery: I. Augmentation–the allures and the alerts. by BM Zide, TM Pfeifer, MT Longaker – … and reconstructive surgery, 1999 – europepmc.org
Early secondary bone grafting of alveolar cleft defects: A comparison between chin and rib grafts by WA Borstlap, KLWM Heidbuchel, HPM Freihofer… – … -Maxillofacial Surgery, 1990 – Elsevier
Congenital median cleft of the chin by WJ STEWART – Archives of Surgery, 1935 – jamanetwork.com
Morbidity of chin bone transplants used for reconstructing alveolar defects in cleft patients by A Booij, GM Raghoebar, J Jansma… – The Cleft palate …, 2005 – journals.sagepub.com
Repair of alveolar clefts with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein (rhBMP-2) in patients with clefts by M Chin, T Ng, WK Tom, M Carstens – … of Craniofacial Surgery, 2005 – journals.lww.com
An ancient Chinese text on a cleft lip by K Boo-Chai – Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 1966 – journals.lww.com
Surgical placement of a chin cleft concomitant with genioplasty. by MR Sher – Journal of Oral Surgery (American Dental Association …, 1980 – europepmc.org
Effect on the contour of bone and soft tissue one year after harvesting chin bone for alveolar cleft repair by EA Dik, AP De Ruiter, A van der Bilt, R Koole – … and maxillofacial surgery, 2010 – Elsevier