I have always felt like I had a weak chin and that it was making my face a little bit unbalanced (and a tad feminine), and I have been thinking seriously about getting a chin implant, but I am HIV+ though otherwise totally healthy. I have been on Meds (currently Complera) and undetectable since 2004. 1. I worry that it is a frivolous idea 2. Wonder whether I am a good candidate 3. Wonder where would be a good resource for finding a Dr comfortable with HIV patients (have had bad experience)
Plastic Surgery and HIV. Am I a Good Candidate?
Doctor Answers 3
Chin implant and HIV+ candidate
It is certainly acceptable to undergo a chin implant being HIV positive, however it is important to have your HIV physician give clearance prior to undergoing elective cosmetic surgery. A chin implant can be inserted through a submental incision and placed directly over the bone underneath the periosteum under local anesthesia and most patients tolerate it very well. Perioperative antibiotics are also given to prevent infection.
Chin Augmentation in HIV Patients
As long as your counts are good, there is no evidence that cosmetic surgery (even including an implant) is associated with higher risks of infections and complications in HIV patients. I have done numerous chin and other facial procedures on HIV patients and have never seen a postoperative problem with them. Chin augmentation is a fairly simple procedure and if it makes you feel better about yourself then you should go for it. You just need to find a doctor who is comfortable with the procedure and you.
Is Plastic Surgery Appropriate for Someone with HIV?
This is a great question. In many cases, HIV is being treated as a chronic disease similar to hypertension, high cholesterol or heart disease. With good medication management and healthy living, the disease is being very effectively managed. If your viral load is well controlled and you are healthy enough to undergo surgery, then you are a good candidate. I would be very upfront with potential surgeons about your concerns. If they're not comfortable operating on you, they will let you know and you can move on to find someone who is more interested in helping you. I hope this information is helpful.
Stephen Weber MD, FACS