There’s one debate about masculinity that’s never really changed, no matter the culture or century: Strong men have strong jaws. And like with most things, it used to be that the path to an American Dad-esque jawline was completely dependent on the genetic lottery — a man’s DNA somehow perfectly aligning to square his chin in a way that neither women, employers nor other men could deny.
But also as with most things, that’s completely changed with evolution. In this case, the evolution of plastic surgery, where injectables and implants can now make beefier chins magically appear. The demand has grown more intense, too — the byproduct of a selfie culture where good angles are measured in likes (which is now the measure of self-esteem). At least that was the theory of a number of plastic surgeons we talked to back in the summer, when we first saw the data that indicated chin implants were the latest cosmetic surgery craze for men.
First, a few more numbers, or at least anecdotal evidence about the numbers. It’s only been six months since our first piece appeared, but according to the plastic surgeons I interviewed, they’ve seen no drop in interest in chin implants since. “The overall volume of chin implants in my practice continued to climb in the last year,” New York City plastic surgeon Darrick Antell tells me when I follow up with him over email.
Second, in that space of time, the procedure, which was never that barbaric to begin with (“This is an operation with a high success rate and a short recovery,” Antell says), has already grown more sophisticated. Case in point: It’s now complemented with jaw angle implant augmentation. “Stronger jaw angles — that is, the back part of the jaw — in conjunction with the chin now allow for a complete lower facial makeover,” explains Indianapolis plastic surgeon Barry Eppley.
Not to mention the commonly held belief that practice makes perfect. “Having performed [chin implants] more than 1,000 times, I believe I have a much better understanding of the subtleties associated with it,” Antell says. “One of the biggest factors most people ignore is the vertical positioning of the implant. It can make a vast difference in the outcome if one doesn’t appreciate the vertical position when placing a chin implant.”
And while Antell is still convinced social media is a main driver behind this boom in business — “I suspect this is because of increasing awareness on the part of patients,” he says. “Probably attributed to social media, etc.” — the millennial men who’d had the procedure that we cited in the piece took serious issue with that explanation (and our framing of the story around it).
“I feel like this article puts us in a bad light,” says Coltis, a Redditor who’d recently gotten a chin implant. “You make too many connections to our generation and how we are affected by social media. My surgery is (hopefully) the end of a process that started with braces at the age of 12 — an age in which I was not part of social media.”
He adds, “We had weak chins, and we changed them. This was an over-analyzation.”
Whatever the reason, the passage of time has not led to Coltis or any of the other men quoted in the original piece to regret their decision to pump up their chins. “The scar is almost completely healed and is hardly visible anymore,” says FouriersAllDay, who, like Coltis, posted about his implants on the plastic surgery subreddit. “I’m much happier with how I look. I used to jut my jaw out for 2 years until I got the chin implant. It’s definitely a relief to hold your teeth normally — although I still catch myself doing it out of habit sometimes.”