Chin Implant Rejection

Hello, I had a rhinoplasty and a chin implant procedure in 1999. I had to have the chin implant removed three weeks post-op due to rejection. It's obviously been several years now, and I would still like to do something about my "weak" chin. I'm not sure what type of material was used for that procedure, but I'm curious if different implant options are now available, or if a surgeon would even recommend trying it again since I rejected an implant the first time around. Thank you.

Doctor Answers 4

You cannot "reject" a chin implant.

Rejection is a body's response to foreign tissue, like a donated kidney, heart, or other organ comprised of proteins that the host body does not recognize as "belonging" to that body. That is why powerful anti-rejection drugs are needed to reduce the risk of rejection (unless the donor of the organ is your identical twin). Tissue typing tests a body's antigens for the closest match, but there are still differences that lead a host to reject foreign tissue without anti-rejection drugs. You can NOT "reject" a chin implant, any more than you can 'reject" a pacemaker, heart valve, or knee replacement. Any of these can become infected, which is unfortunate, since none of these devices has blood flow able to carry antibodies or antibiotics to fight off the invading bacteria. That is also why the implant or device must almost always be removed if it becomes infected. Your chin implant was infected, and once it was removed, the infection was able to be eradicated by your own antibody defenses and antibiotic therapy. Now that the infection is long gone and the tissues well-healed and softened from the misfortune of many years ago, you can have another implant. There is still a risk of infection (again) but this is extremely low! If you are diabetic, the risk is slightly higher, but still quite low, and usually not enough of a concern to recommend against proceeding.

BTW, did you have your chin implant placed via a "hidden" intraoral incision? The mouth is chock-full of nasty bacteria, and no amount of antiseptic irrigation, antibiotic therapy, or good intention can change the fact that this route of placement has a higher risk of infection. The submental incision (beneath your chin) reduces these risks considerably (still not zero, but significantly less) compared to the other approach. Sutured skillfully, this incision is virtually invisible from all angles except from directly below your chin (visible to only dogs and lovers, as my Plastic Surgery Chairman said many years ago), so the nearly invisible scar is a worthwhile trade-off to avoid what you had happen.

Forge ahead, and good luck!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Chin Implant Rejection

Although possible, it is extremely unlikely you actually rejected the previous chin implant if silicone was used. If you saw me in consultation at this time I would recommend placement of another implant. Another alternative would be the augmentation of your chin with fat or a filler such as Radiesse which would last about 1 1/2 years.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Chin implant rejection rare

It is highly unlikely that you rejected a silicone implant.  It is however quite possible you had a misplaced implant or an infection that required removal of the implant.  There is no reason why you could not try again to have another chin implant placed.  Good luck.

Steven Schuster, MD, FACS
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Chin Implant rejection

Current material used for chin augmentation, rarely cause actual rejection. Rejection is body's reaction to foreign material. These implants are made up of relatively inert material such as soft solid silicone or Gortex etc. They do not produce what is called " foreign body reaction".  What many patient consider to be rejection, is usually infection requiring removal. Silicone is our implant of choice and there are several chin implants of different size and shape. However, we find that they need to be adjusted to fit each patient's chin anatomy. If you and your surgeon think you could benefit from a chin implant, then there should be no reason not to have one placed again.

Mohsen Tavoussi, MD, DO
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 12 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.