BOSTON - Over the last year Dr Darrick Antell has performed up to three or four chin implants a day, reflecting a national trend that has seen chin augmentations emerge as the fastest growing plastic surgery trend of 2011.
After about a 45-minute outpatient procedure and a bill ranging from US$3,500 to US$7,500 (S$4,396 to S$9,419), New York-based Antell's patients emerge with what he said is a confidence boost: an athletic, youthful look from a more prominent chin.
"People want that leading lady, leading man look," said Antell, who is also an assistant clinical professor of surgery at Columbia University.
"If you look at people in the limelight, they all have strong chins and it's a part of the profile that has long been overlooked," he said.
Chin implants surged by 71 per cent in 2011 as more than 20,600 adults went under the knife to sharpen their jaw lines, up from roughly 12,000 the year before, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Strong chins are associated with leadership, confidence and honesty, Antell said, not to mention some powerful men and women.
"Romney's got a great chin," Antell said of the presidential hopeful. "Obama has a pretty good chin. Bill Clinton has a very good chin."
Chin implants surgery increased more than breast augmentation, Botox and liposuction combined last year with both men and women opting for the procedure in nearly equal numbers, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Chin augmentation, or actually making the chin protrude more, increased among all patients over the age of 20, with the most significant increases in patients 40 and older, according to the society.
Facial aging tends to appear first on the chin and jaw line and surgery provides a quick change, experts said. They also point to video chat and online photo technology as driving forces behind the escalating numbers.
Posting pictures on Facebook, online dating sites and the increasingly prevalent use of video chat technology like Skype and FaceTime make it harder to hide a person's least favorite feature or perceived flaws, said Dr Malcolm Roth, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the head of plastic surgery at Albany Medical Center in New York.