What Should I Know Before Getting a Facial Implant?

Doctor Answers 12

Today there are many options for chin and cheek implants...

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Today there are many options for chin and cheek implants. Some questions to ask include:

1.) What type of implant do you use?

In both areas, different implant materials are available. Solid silicone, Gore-Tex, and other synthetic substances can be used for implants. In select patients, fat can be taken from the abdomen or thighs and transplanted to the cheeks or chin to produce good results.

2.) What approach is used for chin implants?

When dealing with chin implants, they can be placed either through the mouth or though a very small incision under the chin. Either way, the incisions generally heal very well.

3.) What is the desired result?

Sitting down with the surgeon and determining what you desire after the procedure is probably the most important thing you can do. It is imperative that the patient articulates their desires to the surgeon and the surgeon believes that he/she can produce those results AND produce a natural looking result.

With any implant, whether cheek or chin, several risks are important to note. Infections can occur which may require removal of the implant. There are nerves which supply sensation to the cheek and chin which can be damaged with placement of implants. This can result in temporary or possibly permanent numbness of the areas around the implant. For chin implants, this is important because it can result in lip numbness and sometimes difficulty with drooling.

Overall, implants are very safe and the risks, though present, are fairly minimal. As always, finding a qualified and well-trained physician is important before undertaking any cosmetic surgery procedure.

Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

Facial implants: know your options

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There are several things to consider when contemplating facial implants. First and foremost, you need to discuss this issue with an experienced plastic or facial plastic surgeon who does them frequently, and who can review your options and before and after photos.

Most surgeons currently use silicone implants. It is hard silicone, different from breast implants. It will not leak or break, it is easy to place or remove if you ever desire them removed. There is a large number of shapes and sizes, and an experienced surgeon will go over your options with you. Choosing the right ones for your facial structure is the most important issue.

Chin implants are most common, followed by cheek implants. When chosen properly they both can make a nice change in the facial structure, ranging from subtle to dramatic, depending on your and your surgeon preference. Chin implants are easy, but you frequently may need to address your bite with an orthodontist, and make sure it will not complicate the bite issues in the future.

Cheek implants, on the other hand, can be tricky for several reasons. They need to be placed precisely. The size and shape need to be exact, and symmetry is extremely important. As an aside issue, it is frequently very difficult for the patient to accept the change they see in the mirror with the cheek implants, even with a subtle change. It is one of the more difficult changes for them to get used to. I usually discuss this with my potential cheek implant patients extensively in the consult.

New injectables, like Perlane and Juvederm made it very easy to recreate these potential changes, and can be a good option to consider. No downtime, low (relatively) cost, and reversibility make it a desirable first option. Again, discuss this with the surgeon who does a lot of these and implants, so that you can address all the options.

Stella Desyatnikova, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon

Selecting a facial implant

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Care must be taken when selecting a facial implant area be sure that you discuss your concerns at length with a board-certified plastic surgeon with experience in implant-based contouring of the face. Ask your plastic surgeon what type of implant they will insert, what that implant is made of, the size and shape of the implant, and how this implant will change the contours of your face. Also be sure to ask what the risks for infection, contracture, and asymmetry are and how these complications may be corrected. In our practice, we it is very useful to use digital software that helps morph the patient's photographs so that they can get a better idea of what it would look like after their surgery.

Facial implants are the best option for facial enhancement if done correctly

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Cheek implants have been notoriously troublesome for surgeons and patients over the years and as a result are not often requested by patients these days. Rejuvenation of the face does require attention to the middle third of the face as well as the upper third and lower third to give the best results. Options for middle third facial rejuvenation include deep plane facelift , mid-facelift, volume enhancement (fat or fillers) and cheek implants.

The benefit that cheek implants offer over all others is that they give a permanent improvement that is 100% reversible if the pateint dislikes the result. Furthermore, aside from the cosmetic improvement that implants offer they act as spacers to prevent reattatchment of the ligaments and tissues that weigh the skin down and contribute to the falling aging face. No other option prevents that readherence of tissue and therefore the results are always short lived for all other options.

There are new styles and shapes of cheek implants that have been developed over the last few years that really help alleviate many of the previously associated problems that were seen. The resuts are now very natural and beautiful. I have been very impressed and happy with the cheek implant results that I have gotten over the last few years and as a result I am doing more and more of them and less and less cheeklifts and fat injections to the cheeks to correct the aging middle third of the face.

Jason B. Diamond, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Chin implants should probably be done more often.

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1)  Chin implants are very safe and useful in improving the profile. It's a 30 minute operation with a quick recovery.

2)  We often do a chin implant together with a rhinoplasty or with a facelift.

3)  Cheek bone implants have been largely replaced by fillers and are very seldom done anymore.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Facial implants

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As Dr. Zubowicz has said, facial implants are generally well tolerated and are also easily removed if needed. Chin implants are more common in my experience than cheek implants and actually neither generates a high volume at all.

Perhaps you might try to augment the areas with a temporary filler like Radiesse to be sure you like the new "look" and this would last for 1-3 years.

Will you benefit

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Cheek implants are easy to place and are reversible (you can take them out). Most patients who come to my practice seeking cheek or chin implants really won't benefit from them. I use computer imaging and examples of previous cases to allow the patient to see what changes will be effected. Consequently, I almost never have to remove the implants because the patients know what they are getting.

Chin Implant

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If you are bothered by a small chin, weak jaw or lack of facial contour, plastic surgery with facial implants may benefit you. While any area of your face can be augmented with implants, the cheekbones, chin and jaw are the most common sites for facial implants.Is it right for me? Plastic surgery with facial implants is best performed on people whose head and skull have reached physical maturity, which generally occurs in late adolescence. This procedure is a good option for you if:

  • You are physically healthy
  • You do not smoke
  • You have a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for improvement of facial contours.

William J. Hedden, MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 334 reviews

Think about alternatives such soft tissue filler prior to permanent facial implants

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Facial implants are permanent can bring out short-term fantastic cosmetic outcome. However, our face continues to evolve and sag and the support you get from facial implants placed 5-10 years ago may appear somewhat out of place. You want to avoid the possibility of having to to take out the prosthesis because of infection or the fact that you no longer like the look of your face. You should investigate soft tissue alternatives such as Sculptra that your skilled physician injector can continue to mold into your complexion and provide natural cheek augmentation as you mature gracefully.

William Ting, MD
Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Plastic surgeon Dr. Samuel Lam provides a comprehensive...

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Plastic surgeon Dr. Samuel Lam provides a comprehensive review of cheek and chin implants, including information on what to expect during recovery and who is a good candidate for facial implants.

Sam Lam, MD, FACS
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.