Specially formed solid materials, facial implants are compatible with human tissues and are designed to enhance or augment the physical structure of your face. For the best results, the precise type and size of facial implants best suited for you requires and evaluation of your goals, the features you wish to correct and your surgeon’s judgment. If you are bothered by a small chin, weak jaw, or lack of facial contour, plastic surgery with facial implants may benefit you.
The most common sites for facial implants are the cheek (malar area), chin and jaw. Chin implants can increase the size and projection of a chin that is not in proportion with the forehead and mid-face. Chin surgery or mentoplasty, is a surgical procedure to reshape the chin either by enhancement with an implant or reduction surgery on the bone.
Jaw implants increase the width of the lower third of your face. Cheek implants increase the projection of the cheekbones, adding volume to areas that may recessed or flat.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Facial Implants?
The best candidates are people whose head and skull have reached physical maturity, which generally occurs in late adolescence. If you are physically healthy, do not smoke and have a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for improvement of facial contours, you may be a good candidate for facial implants.
Risks and Safety Information
You will be asked to sign consent forms before surgery to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications. Common risks include:
- anesthesia risks
- change in skin sensation
- damage to deeper tissues
- firmness around the implant
- poor healing of incisions
- shifting of implants
- unfavorable scarring
All risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent.
During your consultation, be sure to ask as many question as possible. It is very important to understand all aspects of your facial implant surgery. Everybody feels some anxiety, whether it is excitement for the anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. During consultation, your doctor needs to know:
- any previous surgeries you had
- your surgical goals
- your medical conditions, drug allergies, and medical treatments
- your current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
Your plastic surgeon will also evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors. Photographs will also be taken for your medical records. Your surgeon will discuss your options, likely outcomes of facial implant surgery and any risks or potential complications, recommending a course of treatment.
How Do I Prepare for Surgery?
In preparing for facial implants, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical evaluation, take certain medications or adjust your current medications, stop smoking well in advance of your procedure, and avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery if the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.
Procedure Steps, Recovery and Final Results
A facial implants procedure includes a series of steps:
During the surgical procedure, medications are administered for your comfort. Options include IV sedation and general anesthesia. Your surgeon will recommend the best option for you.
The specific area to be augmented in the cheek determines where an implant will be positioned on the cheekbone. Cheek implants are most often placed through incisions in the mouth. Alternate incisions may be recommended when performed with other procedures.
The incision may be made inside your mouth, along the crease that joins your lower lip and gums. Also, an incision just beneath the chin is an alternative.
These implants are usually placed through the mouth with incisions inside the mouth, back along the jaw line at the crease where the inside of your cheek and gums meet. Absorbable sutures or stitches will be used to close the incisions and will be removed within 1-2 weeks after the surgery.
Although the initial outcome of plastic surgery with facial implants is noticeable almost immediately, it will be obscured by visible localized swelling, discoloration, numbness or discomfort. The swelling will fully dissipate in several months and, in addition, facial movements may be temporarily restricted or impaired. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure, and another surgery may be necessary.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself and it is essential to follow these instructions for the success of your surgery. You should avoid subjecting the incisions to excessive force, swelling, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. You will also be given advice about the medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.