Facial implants are specially formed solid, biocompatible materials designed to enhance or augment the physical structure and contours of your face. The precise type and size of implants best suited for you requires an evaluation of your goals, the features you wish to correct and your surgeon’s judgment.
Facial implants can be used to enhance the chin, jaw and cheek.
What are Chin Implants?
Chin implants can increase the size and projection of a chin that does not project in proportion with the forehead and mid-face. A small or recessed chin can also be described as one that seems to disappear into the neck of an individual of normal weight, rather than appearing as a distinct facial feature.
What are Jaw Implants?
Jaw implants increase the width of the lower third of your face. Much like the chin, a weak jaw can be thought of as one that is not well-defined and distinct from the neck, or one that slopes rather than angles from the ear to the chin. In some cases, both the chin and jaw can contribute to facial imbalance.
What are Cheek Implants?
Cheek implants increase the projection of the cheekbones. They add volume to areas which may be recessed or ﬂat.
If symmetry among facial features is part of your goal, facial implants may be recommended to augment more than one facial region. It’s important to remember that all of our faces are asymmetric to some degree and your results may not be completely symmetric. The goal is to create balance and proportion. Your procedure may be performed alone, or as a complement to other facial contouring procedures such as nose or ear surgery.
What Facial Implants Can Do
Facial implants bring balance and better proportion to the structural appearance of your face. They define your face by increasing projection and creating more distinct features and used in Facial Feminization Surgery.
Facial implants can improve proportion and profiles and correct imbalance caused by injury or hereditary traits.
Best Candidates for Facial Implants
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
Are Facial Implants Right for Me?
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.
Preparing for Facial Implants
The success and safety of your facial implant procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.
Prior to surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Special instructions you receive will cover:
- What to do on the day of surgery
- The use of anesthesia during your procedure
- Post-operative care and follow-up
Your plastic surgeon will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. Facial implants may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient or ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital.
If your Facial implants are performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
Facial Implant Surgery Overview
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
The chin: For a chin implant, the incision may be inside your mouth, along the crease that joins your lower lip and gums. An incision just beneath the chin is an alternative.
The jaw: These implants are generally placed through the mouth with incisions inside the mouth, further back along the jawline, at the crease where the inside of your cheek and gums meet.
The cheek: The specific area to be augmented in the cheek determines where an implant will be positioned on the cheekbone. Cheek implants are most often placed through incisions in the mouth. When performed with other procedures, alternate incisions may be recommended including placement through an incision inside the lower eyelid or one within the hairline.
Closing the Incisions
Your incisions will be closed with absorbable sutures or stitches that will be removed within 1-2 weeks following your surgery.
Face Implant Surgery Results
The final results of your facial implant surgery will be long-lasting, however the initial healing phase may include localized swelling, discoloration, numbness or discomfort.
Will There be Scars?
In most cases the scars from facial implants will be well hidden. Incisions will either be made inside the mouth, under the jaw, or the hairline.
Facial Implant Surgery Recovery
While the initial outcome of plastic surgery with facial implants is noticeable almost immediately, it will be obscured by visible swelling. It may take several months for swelling to fully dissipate.
In addition, facial movements may be temporarily restricted or impaired. These are common conditions.
You will be given specific instructions that may include: How to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in overall health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period:
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
- When will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed? When?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- Will I receive specific dietary instructions?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
When You Return Home
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure. Another surgery may be necessary.
Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
Possible Risks of Facial Implant Surgery
The decision to have facial implant surgery is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable. Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo, the alternatives and the most likely risks and potential complications.
Possible risks of facial implant surgery include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Poor healing of incisions
- Anesthesia risks
- Change in skin sensation
- Damage to deeper structures — such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs — can occur and may be temporary or permanent
- Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents
- Excessive scar tissue formation
- Firmness around the implant
- Shifting of implants and pressure on surrounding structures
- Skin contour irregularities
- Skin discoloration and swelling
- Skin sensitivity
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Blood clots
- Pain, which may persist
- Possibility of revisional surgery
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
Note: It’s very important to ask your plastic surgeon questions about your Facial Implant procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.