If Doctor Goes in to Clean/Apply Antibiotics to Infected Cheek Implant, is it Possible to Save Implant?

im due to have surgery due to infection next week. my doctor says that he will have to clean out the infection and put antibiotics in the affected area and stich it back up again. please tell me this will save the implant and i wont hav to have it removed?

Doctor Answers 7

Infected cheek implants need to be removed

No, infected implants need to be removed for the infection to resolve.

I prefer injectable filler materials (e.g. Perlane, Juvederm, Sculptra) for implants.  Although these injectable fillers are temporary, there are very safe, reversible and adjustable.


Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.3 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Cheek Augmentation Option with Infected Cheek Implant

Fortunately, the rate of infection is acceptably low for cheek implants, which are usually placed via small incisions inside the mouth. Unfortunately, antibiotics alone generally cannot save an implant once it's infected. Most plastic surgeons will agree to remove an infected implant. Each patient and circumstance will vary. After a period of time, a new cheek implant may be placed. Only after a comprehensive evaluation can a plastic surgeon help determine appropriate options for you. Best of luck.

Dr. Chaboki


Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

If Doctor Goes in to Clean/Apply Antibiotics to Infected Cheek Implant, is it Possible to Save Implant?

I perform many Cheek Implant surgeries and it's uncertain whether the procedure will be successful at stopping the infection.  IMHO, it will depend on why and how your cheek implants got infected in the first place which IMO, is a very rare event.  Needle aspiration with a course of double antibiotics should be the first course of action and be repeated once after which removal of the implant is the only remaining option should the infection persist.

I personally would not recommend cleaning and keping the infected cheek implants in place but would rather remove them, allow the area to heal for about 6 months and then place new cheek implants.  Fillers like Perlane or Radiesse could be used at 1 month post implant removal for desired cheek augmentation during the waiting period for re-implantation.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Implant infection

An implant is a foreign body. Living tissue does not grow in it nor does blood circulate in it. Once it becomes infected it is virtually impossible to sterilize with antibiotics since there is no blood supply to carry them into the implant. Getting it removed is the best way to solve the problem and avoid repeat surgeries until everything is helthy enough to replace it.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

If Doctor Goes in to Clean/Apply Antibiotics to Infected Cheek Implant, is it Possible to Save Implant?

The previous expert posters are SSOOOOO correct. Remove it is the smart play. Otherwise you might be OK for a few months than BANG a rip roaring infection returns. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Answer to RealSelf.com question regarding infected cheek implant

Most surgeons would recommend removal of the infected implant. It is often very difficult to clear an infection in the presence of a foreign body.  The foreign body can act as a "nidus" of the infection and harbor the offending bacteria on its surface.  While it is possible in some instances to save the implant, the safest approach is probably to remove the implant.  In most cases I would allow the infection to resolve and the wound to heal.  Once everything is back to near normal, another attempt can be made.  Good luck. 

Eric T. Emerson, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Can You Save an Infected Cheek Implant

That's a tough one because you would love to save the work you've done and the patient's result.  However, the safe answer is just take it out.  There's no huge harm in trying to salvage it but you really should look at removing it early.  The longer an infected implant sits the more scar tissue that's created and the more retracted/sunken your cheeks could look.  Just take them out and replace them after the infection is totally resolved. 

That's unfortunate but do the safest thing and you'll do fine.

Dr. Lay

Chase Lay, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.