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Chin implants on the rise; FaceTime, Skype may be to blame

April 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Chin implants come in many sizes, and these days, plastic surgeon Dr. Carlo Honrado is ordering many more of them than he did just a year ago. The increase appears to go hand-in-hand with the popularity of face-to-face video apps like Skype and Apple's FaceTime.

"With the invent of Facebook and social media, people are seeing themselves more on cameras as opposed to in the mirror," said Dr. Carlo Honrado.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons say chin implants shot up 66 percent in women and 76 percent in men. That's more than breast implants, botox and liposuction combined.

"I noticed that the double chin was very pronounced, and it really, really bothered me," said Lizette Stephens.

As a software manager, Stephens often uses her webcam for work. In an interview with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, she admits seeing her profile prompted a desire to change it. She's not alone.

Experts say on average every 25 minutes in U.S., there's a chin implant. Some get them to stay competitive professionally, others to slow down aging.

"It's a pretty straight forward procedure. It can take about 45 minutes to an hour to do," Honrado said.

But Honrado notes that it's important to find a board-certified physician because all surgeries come with complications and risks. One particular concern is an area in the chin that contains two important nerves.

"If not done properly, people can actually develop numbness that persists for a period of time," Honrado said.

For Stephens, the surgery worked out well. After feeling self conscious, she has new confidence.

"It's night and day different, but yet subtle enough that it doesn't make me look like a totally different, new person," she said.

Chin implants can range from $1,500 to $3,000. Honrado says he often advises patients try less permanent options like fillers so people can see what they might look like if they got an implant.