Facial implants are an FDA-approved way to correct or augment cheekbones, chin, or jaw. An implant can help correct facial fat loss and restore symmetry.
Recent improvements in surgical materials have resulted in a variety of sizes and shapes of implants. The implants are carefully designed to fit the skeletal form, resulting in a very natural appearance. All implants are composed of materials that have been found safe, following many years of surgical use.
While facial implant surgery may be indicated as a solitary procedure, it is commonly combined with other cosmetic procedures to enhance the overall outcome. Facial implant surgery is frequently performed with a facelift, eyelid surgery, and/or nose surgery to achieve an optimal result.
During the initial consultation, the surgeon analyzes the face and discusses the patient's objectives. If surgery is indicated, the appropriate implant is selected for each patient. When the face is asymmetrical prior to surgery, some asymmetry may be present following the procedure.
Cheek implants enhance the cheekbones and provide an appearance of elegance and youth. They can give a relatively flat mid-face a more attractive contour. They often add a finishing touch and provide balance for those seeking better facial harmony. Although most patients who elect to have cheek implant surgery are women, many men choose this surgery, also.
Chin implantation is performed using local anesthesia with I.V. sedation as an outpatient procedure. A small incision is made either in the natural crease line just under the chin or inside the mouth just above where the gum and lower lip meet. The implant is inserted into a small space that is created by the surgeon, and fine sutures are used to close the incision. If the incision is inside the mouth, no external scarring is visible. If the incision is underneath the chin, the scar fades over time, becoming nearly imperceptible.
UNDERSTANDING THE PROCEDURE
Facial implant surgery is usually performed using local anesthesia with I.V. sedation as an outpatient procedure. The implant is inserted through a small incision made inside the mouth. The incision is closed with absorbable sutures to avoid the need for removal. The procedure heals with no external scarring.
UNDERSTANDING THE RECOVERY
Immediately following the surgery, the surgeon may apply a pressure bandage that is removed in the office the next day. After the pressure bandage is removed, there may be tape and/or a bolster over the implant area. These stay in place for one to three days and are removed at the next appointment.
Recovery is rapid, although there may be mild to moderate discomfort that is controlled with oral medications. Chewing is limited immediately after cheek implant surgery, and a liquid or soft food diet is required for several days. Some activities, such as lifting and bending are limited for several days following the procedure. Facial expressions and movements are also restricted to prevent the implant from shifting. Pressure to the cheek areas should be avoided for four to six weeks.
Although the cheek areas are swollen initially, and some bruising may occur, most of the swelling subsides in a few days. Numb and firm areas around the cheeks and mouth are common but are self-limiting. Most patients return to work or resume normal activities within a few days after surgery.
UNDERSTANDING CHIN IMPLANT RECOVERY
The patient wears compression garments after the procedure. These garments are removed the morning after the procedure so the patient may shower and wash and dry the garments. After showering, the garments are replaced and worn day and night for the next 48 to 72 hours. Some patients need to wear the garments for four to seven days after the surgery; however, many patients choose to wear them longer because of the comfort they provide.
Certain activities are restricted to aid healing. However, most patients are able to engage in light activity the day after surgery. Normal activity can be resumed within a week or so, but some soreness should be expected. Exposure to the sun is to be avoided during healing because it may darken the small, maturing scars.