Facial implants are used to improve the contours of the face. Implants which build up the cheekbones, chin, and/or jaw may be used individually or in combination to create a more attractive profile and face shape. Facial implants may be used to restore a youthful appearance, to enhance features in an already youthful face, or in reconstructive surgery.
The basic procedure for placing facial implants is the same in all locations on the face. A small incision is made, usually in an existing crease or inside the mouth. A pocket is made in the facial tissue to accommodate the implant. The implant is inserted and the incision closed. The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia and can be performed during other procedures such as a facelift.
Types of implants
Facial implants may be permanent or semi-permanent and can be made from natural or synthetic materials. Years ago bone grafts and silicone were the only choices for facial implants, but modern technology has created broader options.
- Bone grafts. Bone taken from your own body or another source.
- Fat grafts. Fat taken from your own body or another source.
- Silicone. The first synthetic implants, silicone can be manufactured to different degrees of hardness or flexibility, may be attached with titanium screws. Scar tissue forms around the implant making it easy to remove. This type of implant does not integrate with the natural tissue.
- Expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). The same material used in GorTex winter wear, this material is porous and integrates with your own tissue to hold it in place.
- Polyethylene. Similar to ePTFE, but more rigid.
- Hydroxyapatite (H.A.). Derived from corral, this type of implant integrates with your own tissue and so closely mimics the chemical make-up of natural bone that the body accepts it completely.
Facial implants may be used alone or in combination, and are often used to enhance the results of other procedures. A recessed chin, out of balance profile, “fleshy” look of the lower face, or double chin are all common reasons for choosing facial implants.
Your cosmetic surgeon can evaluate your look and you desired end results and help you decide if facial implants are the right solution, or part of the right solution, for you.
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