Health Topics

Healthy Living

March 2011
Look Better with Facial Implants
Dr.Parag Sahasrabudhe
Your face, more than any other part of your body, is what defines you. You use it to communicate, to be recognised, and to influence other people – not to talk of the concept of ‘beauty,’ which is inherently linked to the face.

At its most fundamental level, your face is a composite of structural elements - chin, cheeks, nose, brow, jaw seen in the context of your whole face. It is the relationship between these structural elements that creates the look that is uniquely yours.

When one of these elements is too big, too small or too prominent, it tends to throw the face out of balance. Facial contouring, using carefully styled implants, can create a more attractive, harmonious balance among your facial features.Implants can be used alone or in conjunction with other facial procedures (such as combining chin augmentation with a facelift to enhance the chin/neck angle).

Facial implants are man-made (synthetic) substitutes for our body tissues.They are most often used to enhance the nose, cheeks or chin regions. One’s own tissues (for example, the rib bone or the cartilage) may be used for the same purpose, but involves surgery at other site in body leaving additional scar.

Your New Look
Facial implant surgery is a highly effective technique for giving you a new contour, with very little scarring. The results are permanent. Implant procedures can dramatically or subtly change the way you look and depending upon what you want. Most patients are very satisfied with the results of their surgery.

The best candidates for implants are people looking for improvement, not perfection, in the way they look. You should be physically healthy, psychologically stable, and realistic in your expectations. Patients considering a facial implant should be aware of alternative surgery (such as breaking and advancing the lower jaw instead of a chin implant) and be aware that no man-made substance is perfect. The body systems of some patients will not tolerate even the most inert (minimally reactive) substance. For such people, using their own tissues is the best option.

Procedure Details
Most facial implant procedures are performed under deep sedation and local anaesthesia. Surgery usually takes an hour or two, but the time required may vary considerably depending on the amount of work being done. During this time the patient is carefully monitored.
  • Chin implant surgery is best performed through a small incision in the crease under the chin or from intra-oral approach avoiding scar on skin. A pocket large enough for the implant is then created by gently lifting the skin and muscle off the chin bone. Sizers are then used to determine the most appropriate implant for one’s profile and expectations. Fine sutures close the incision and no dressing is required.
  • Cheek implant surgery is usually performed through incisions made in the mouth.Tunnels are raised to the cheek bone prominences and the implants positioned for maximum effect. Sometimes external strapping is used to prevent shifting in the early post-operative phase. The intra-oral incisions are closed with dissolving sutures and no dressing is needed.
  • Nasal implant surgery is most often performed through an intra-nasal incision. Sometimes an external small incision in the columella (partition between the nostrils) is used. After inserting the appropriate implant and closing the incision, a small nasal splint is applied to protect the implant for one week after surgery. No nasal packing is required.
After any facial implant surgery, the patient is monitored in the recovery area for a few hours prior to discharge. It is mandatory for a patient who has had deep sedation to have someone stay with them the first night after surgery.

Risk Involved
Facial surgery is normally safe, as long as patients are carefully selected, the operating facility is properly equipped and the physician is a certified plastic surgeon.
  • A facial implant will occasionally shift in position after the operation. It does not happen often, but if the implant shifts, the only way to correct it is to redo the operation.
  • A small percentage of patients develop an infection around the implant. While this may occur at any time, it is most often seen within a few weeks after surgery. In some cases, the implant may need to be removed for several months until the infection clears. A new implant can then be reinserted.
  • Occasionally, some patients will experience minor injury or bruising to the facial nerves which provide feeling and movement to the lip and chin areas. This condition is usually temporary.
  • Facial implants, unlike breast gel implants, are made of solid silicone. They have a long and safe history for human implantation.
Dr. Parag Sahasrabudhe is Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Jehangir Hospitals, Pune
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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