Facial Implants

Facial implants can enhance important contours and definition of a face and create a more angular or robust and youthful appearance. Implants are placed in a variety of places, but most often in the chin, cheeks, or nasal bridge. Augmenting one area can create the illusion of manipulating an adjacent region and significantly improve the overall facial balance. An example would include a nose which appears large yet the primary problem is a small and retrussive chin.

A chin implant can enhance a reduction rhinoplasty much like a cheek implant works with a facelift. A number of implant materials are available and these options will be discussed with your surgeon.

Understanding the Procedure

Cheek and chin implants can be placed under local anesthesia with sedation. The involved areas will be thoroughly anesthetized and no sharp discomfort will be felt. The incisions for cheek implants are usually made inside the mouth, under the upper lip. This provides direct access to the cheek area while avoiding any external scar. This incision is closed with dissolvable sutures and takes about 7-10 days to fully heal. The chin implant is inserted through a skin incision immediately under the chin. This is also closed by stitches that dissolve. Both cheek and chin implants require a special tape bandage that will secure the implant in its proper position. Over the course of one week, the implant becomes more fixated in its position. Wearing the tape bandage for one to two weeks will help secure its precise position.

What to Expect After Surgery

The degree of swelling and bruising is usually minimal. When implants are performed alone, the postoperative discomfort can be managed well with Tylenolâ„¢. Maintaining the tape bandage can be nuisance but is essential to achieving the desired look. Some areas overlying the implant might feel numb and it may take several weeks for full sensation to return.

Frequently Asked Questions?

What kind of material is used in an implant?
Implants can be made of a variety of materials: a foreign material, other human tissue, or even your own tissue from other areas of your body. Most chin and cheek implants are plastic materials that will become integrated with the surrounding tissue. Implants to the bridge of the nose are usually made from your own natural body parts, such as from the nasal septum, ear, or occasionally the rib cartilage.

What complications can arise with facial implants?
The risks of infection and rejection exist with all implants. Most people take some antibiotics prophylactically to protect against infection. Other complications include implant mobility and asymmetry. On occasion, the implant can wiggle while under the skin but this is usually not bothersome. When the implant twists or migrates to create asymmetry, it may require a revision procedure to place it back into its correct anatomic position.