A male chin tends to be larger, wider and squarer while a female chin tends to be smaller, narrower and rounder and men's chins jut forwards a little more than women's.
Something I have discovered through doing Virtual FFS is that in terms of feminisation the shape of the chin is more important than the height.
This partly because a square chin has a flat base and this flat base clearly underlines the height of the chin as if someone had etched a flat pencil line there while a rounded shape gives a more vague sense of height. Another reason is that rounding a chin by shaving off the corners does actually reduce the height of either side of the chin – only the central point is left at the same height as before so more of the chin is shortened than is left the same.
It is quite widely believed that female chins are almond shaped, coming to more of a single point rather than having a more rounded shape but I have found no evidence for this. If you look at a selection of averaged female chins such as you might find on this site or the “Face of Tomorrow” site, you find that female chins are very much rounded – think of them as “U” shaped rather than “V” shaped.
Chin surgery is called “genioplasty” or “mentoplasty”. Chin surgery is quite complex and there can be a range of approaches to it. Care has to be taken not to damage the nerves and muscles in this area.
The surgeon can reach the chin either through the mouth where an incision is made in the gums, or through an incision under the chin. An incision in the mouth can be more traumatic and more prone to infection but will not leave a visible scar while an incision under the chin will leave a visible scar but may be less traumatic.
The corners of a chin can usually be shaved down to make the chin more rounded. If the chin needs to be reduced in height, some surgeons will just shave bone off. Others remove a horizontal section of bone from the middle of the chin and close the gap – this has the advantage of leaving the muscle attached to the bone below the cut.
A receding or protruding chin can be moved forwards or backwards to enhance femininity or beauty by cutting through the chin bone horizontally and sliding the lower section forwards or backwards as required (this is called a sliding genioplasty). The chin can also be moved forwards by putting in a chin implant. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages – chin implants are easier to insert but might slip and are more prone to infection; sliding genioplasty can make a bigger change but is more invasive.
The sliding genioplasty is very versatile because by angling the cut through the bone, they can change the height of the chin and the protrusion of the chin at the same time. Sometimes a single cut may be made through the bone but if a greater reduction in height is required, then a section of bone can be removed from the middle as described above.
If you have a pocket of fat beneath the chin, this can be reduced with liposuction. On older patients (over the age of about 35 to 40 but very variable) you may need to consider a neck lift at the same time rather than just liposuction as there may not be enough elasticity left in the skin to contract after the liposuction. Reducing this soft tissue is more about beauty than feminisation.
One way you can de-emphasise the height of the chin in some cases is to raise the eyebrows a little. A good candidate for this would be someone who's eyebrows are already low or in a medium position and who has a tall chin. It's not a rule and there will be many exceptions but it is one possibility.
The Nolichi Rule: It is important to bear in mind that the height of the chin needs to balance with the distance between the nose and mouth. In fact, on both males and females, the opening of the mouth is, on average, just under a third of the distance between the base of the nose and the base of the chin - the male may be taller overall in this area but the proportions between the lip nose and chin are the same in both sexes. I call this the "Nolichi rule" and you can read more about it in part 5 of my thesis.
The thing to bear in mind is that if you shorten a chin, you can make the lip to nose distance seem longer by comparison and conversely, if you shorten the lip to nose distance, you can make the the chin look proportionately taller so these features often need to be considered together. As I've already mentioned, rounding off the corners of a square chin often makes it seem shorter and in many cases that is all that is needed to make it work nicely with the mouth even though it might remain technically a little taller than average but in other cases, especially if the chin is very tall, you will need to consider shortening the height of the chin as well as rounding it.
The surgeon needs to be careful to avoid the “mental nerve” which exits through the chin about 2 cm or so below the corners of your mouth. It is a branch of the “inferior alveolar nerve” which runs along inside the jaw. This nerve supplies sensation to the chin, lower incisors and bottom lip so these areas can become numb if it is damaged during surgery. Here is a diagram:
When the surgeon approaches the chin through the mouth they cut through the mentalis muscle to reach the chin bones and this can affect mobility of the bottom lip.
Chin implants can shift and will need to be put back in the right position. Screwing them in place can help prevent this. Chin implants can also erode away the chin bone over several years.
The main muscle (the “mentalis” muscle) gives movement to the area and care has to be taken to ensure that it remains properly attached to the bone.
One of the complications you sometimes see with a sliding genioplasty is an indented area between the chin and the jaw.
In some cases the tissues under the chin may be loosened by the chin surgery causing them to sag. This is called “witches chin” or “chin ptosis” and there are techniques that can reduce it like “mentopexy”.
Facelifts After Chin Surgery:
On older FFS patients chin and jaw surgery can leave the soft tissues around the lower face and neck more slack than they were before. This happens partly because the bones have been reduced but also because chin and jaw surgery can cause quite a lot of swelling and that swelling stretches the soft tissues. Younger patients don't have this problem as the soft tissues are very elastic and will tighten back up around the new jaw and chin as the swelling goes down. The age at which you might need to consider a facelift after chin and jaw surgery will vary from person – one 50 year old might have very toned soft tissues while another 40 year old might already be having noticeable sagging. You would normally have to wait a few months after jaw and chin surgery before having a face lift.
A small study I made suggests chin clefts might be a little more common in men than women. This simply involved counting the chin clefts on 50 male and 50 female faces – all randomly selected and I found that 58% of males had a visible cleft against 38% of women (a larger study might come up with different figures). This may be partly to do with the extra layer of fat that women have although that is just a guess. If it is down to that then hormones might reduce a mild cleft a little. More importantly, although they are a little more common on men they are still very common on women – so common in fact that in my opinion a chin cleft can't be considered a masculinity - they are really more of personal preference issue. There are procedures that can add or remove a cleft but it is often not possible to remove a cleft completely.
This is the horizontal crease between the chin and the bottom lip. If you feel that it is too deep, you can have it reduced with an injectable filler. This is also a cosmetic treatment and has no particular effect on femininity.
Some people have a pocket of fat under the chin and this can be removed with liposuction. It is not really a feminisation procedure but it can make an aesthetic improvement and there may be some feminisation to be gained by the reduction in volume to this part of the face.