What Is Facial Implant Surgery?
Facial implant surgery is a form of cosmetic surgery used to change people’s facial contours or provide more balance to their face and features. Facial implant surgery also restores shape to a face after trauma or major disease (such as cancer). Implants may be made of human tissue or synthetic materials such as silicone or polythene.
Some common areas where implants are inserted include the cheeks, chin and jaw.
Some people choose to have cheek implants because they think their cheeks look flat or sunken. Cheek implants can make the cheeks look larger, higher or fuller.
People usually choose to have chin implants because they think their chin looks too small. Sometimes, a medical practitioner may recommend a chin implant to a person having reparative nose surgery (rhinoplasty). This is to provide facial proportion, as the size of the chin may influence how the nose looks.
How Is Facial Implant Surgery Performed?
Facial implant surgery may be performed using local anaesthetic and sedation, or a general anaesthetic. Your medical practitioner will advise on which option is best for you.
Cheek implant surgery: Cheek implant surgery usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes. If you are just having implants, the steps generally include:
- An incision (cut) is made either inside your upper lip or through your lower eyelid.
- A pocket is formed and the implant is inserted.
- The implant is held in place by the cheek muscles, stitches or metal screws.
- Stitches are used to close the incisions inside your mouth – these usually dissolve within about 10 days.
When cheek implants are being placed as part of another cosmetic procedure (such as a facelift, forehead lift or eyelid surgery), the implants may be inserted through the incisions made for those procedures.
Chin implant surgery: Chin implants are made from a variety of materials including silicone, other man-made materials (such as polythene) or tissue from your own body. The steps generally include:
The surgeon makes an incision either on the underside of the chin or inside the mouth at the lower lip.
If you are having surgery using your own tissue, this may be achieved by having the bone of your chin cut and moved forward, then secured with metal plates and screws.
If your surgery involves a synthetic implant, the implant is put into position and the incision is closed
What Are The Risks Of Facial Implant Surgery?
All surgery carries some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of facial implant surgery include:
- allergic reaction to anaesthetic, which may be fatal
- heavy bleeding from the surgical site
- blood clots that may cause potentially fatal cardiovascular complications such as heart attack, deep vein thrombosis or stroke
- infection that may require treatment with antibiotics or further surgery in some cases
- allergic reaction to sutures, dressings or antiseptic solutions
- the formation of a large blood clot (haematoma) beneath the incision, which may require drainage
- keloids and hypertrophic scars – raised, thickened scars. These may form over the healed incision sites. They may be itchy and unsightly, but are not a threat to health
- temporary or permanent areas of numbness
- inflamed, itchy scars
- difficulty talking or smiling for several weeks
- movement of the implant, which will require further surgery
- slow healing, often related to smoking or diabetes
- short-term nausea following general anaesthesia
- reduced ability to move your mouth and lips.
- Further surgery may be required to treat complications.
This is not a complete list. For example, your medical history or lifestyle may put you at increased risk of certain complications. Speak to your medical practitioner for more information.
What Is The Recovery Period For Facial Implant Surgery?
The swelling may take a few weeks to reduce. You may not be able to see your new look for some months after the surgery. The effects should be subtle, but noticeable.
Implant results will be semi-permanent if human tissue is used because the tissue will age. The result will be permanent if synthetic implants such as silicone or polythene are used.