Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Note to self - Never tell a woman she has a witch's chin deformity


Sometimes our terminology and analysis comes out of our mouth without thinking about how people may internalize it. So I'm at this event the other night celebrating my new partner's addition to the practice, and I made the innocent mistake of telling someone I thought they had a little bit of a "witch's chin" when they were asking me about what they didn't like about their own chin.

Big mistake!I think I've now scarred that girl for life as she's now fixated on it! While I was implying a subtle chin feature that only someone like me is going to pick up on, she's imagining I've called her the wicked witch of the west. That awkward moment has inspired today's sermon on chins.

Cartoons characters such as Andy Gump and Broom Hilda the Witch are best known for their exaggerated facial features. In Plastic Surgery we have borrowed these characterization helping us to describe features with the “Andy Gump Syndrome” or the “Witches Chin Deformity.”

An Andy Gump deformity is produced from not reconstructing the jaw bone (mandible), most commonly when cancer surgeries in that area require removal. In 2008, such mandible problems are treated by taking a piece of your fibula (a lower leg bone) and doing microsurgical reconstruction to transplant it to the jaw. I did about a dozen of those in my training and it's an elegant surgery. As I don't do microsurgery in practice or work at a hospital where such large ENT cancer surgeries are performed, I hopefully will never be asked to do something like that again!

A "witch's chin" deformity describes either an excess of fat and/or drooping of said fat on the projecting part of you chin. The surgical correction involves removing the bulk and suspending it to the bony part of your chin. Seen below is a representative picture of the condition and a graphic of one of the operations to fix it.

For all you ever wanted to know about witch's appearences in pop culture throught history, check out the neat "Sexy Witch Blog" from Australia.

G'day mates!


rlbates said...

She really shouldn't have been asking about it at the party. Still we could use a better term for the "problem".

Plastic Surgeons Secrets said...

I was just wondering the other day, where do interns for plastic surgery do their internship? I mean I can understand psychiatry interns doing theirs at government hospitals on mentally ill patients, but I am trying to in my mind see who would let a practicing plastic surgeon work on their body?