Is it Possible to Have an Implant Placed in Nasolabial Folds?

I know for the most part doctors love for clients to have to keep coming in for refills. I wonder why this option has not been used more, both for nasolabial and also for cheek implants?

Doctor Answers 5

Permanent Implants in the Nasolabial Folds

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Dear lilaclily,  

While it would seem ideal that we develop a permanent implant forr certain places in the face, the fact is that would be a very poor choice.  As we age, certain places in our face change and not just by losing volume but also by changes in the skin and in the other surrounding soft tissues. These changes are progressive meaning that as we age, the changes continue to occur.  Since the implant cannot stop these changes, an implant placed at a certain point in time to hide a particular problem may at a later time not be able to hide the other changes and in fact may be exposed by the other aging changes that occur as we age.  This is exactly what happened with many of the earlier permanent implants such as the Gortex implants.   Therefore, a permanent  implant is not the ideal choice but instead a long-lasting implant that can later be modified or let dissolve is the better choice.  

While refills are not ideal, they allow your plastic surgeon to adjust and modify their injection techniques and the fillers they use.  Think of it this way, the fashions you wore when you were 20 would not look good on you today.  Remember, your tissues are dynamic-ever changing, not static. Therefore your implant should not be static either.

Hope this helps.  Best of luck.

Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Implants in the nasolabial folds may become problematic after several years.

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During my fellowship in facial plastic surgery, I observed several patients with problematic GoreTex that had been implanted in their nasolabial folds. The main problem was visibility of the implant, and removal was performed. Removal of GoreTex strips after several years of soft-tissue in-growth is a challenging procedure.

In my practice, I typically fill nasolabial folds with Silikon-1000, an off-label filler for permanent results.

Dr. Joseph

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 435 reviews

Implants Versus Injections Like Radiesse For Nasolabial Folds

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Permanent implants have been used in the past and were abandoned in favor of fillers by most practitioners for good reasons

While it may seem practical to choose a permanent option for nasolabial folds and the cheeks, there are reasons why injections are more suitable for many patients.

As we get older, the tissue in our face changes as a whole. Permanent implants that initially make a patient look attractive at one point, may not be suitable for their appearance at a certain age. 

Fillers can adapt to the aging face and because of this, the results are quite natural looking. This of course depends on the artistic eye of the physician. 

Radiesse a calcium based matrix under the skin which promotes the growth of new collagen fibers.  The firmness of the injection gel allows it to give adequate support for nasolabial folds. And it can also be used for the cheeks as well. The doctor can mold it into shape as opposed to having an implant already made. This allows patients to provide direct feedback during the actual procedure. 


Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

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Permanent implant to correct nasolabial folds

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The previous physicians were all correct in their warnings of the problems and lack of success with permanent implants to correct NL folds.  However, one of the most important elements that was not mentioned is that these folds develop due to lack of support from the cheek (maxillary) bone which shrinks as we age, causing the cheek to descend and form the fold.  Filling to restore upper cheek volume corrects the underlying cause, and can be accomplished with injectable fillers such as Radiesse, sculptra and others, or by Silcicone Rubber implants over the bone.

Stephen Mandy, MD
Miami Dermatologic Surgeon

Facial implants and permanent fillers

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I agree with both of my colleagues' answers on this. While in theory the idea of implants and permanent fillers seem great, there are many actual long-term problems. Over the years your face, skin, and structure will change. Having something permanent in there, whether an implant or facial filler will not allow these to happen and you will end up looking deformed because your body will try to change around the implant/filler. It seems like a good idea, but in practice, it's just not!

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.