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Face Implants

Face Implant, Part 1

People who choose to have facial implants detect a disproportion in the shape of their faces.

Sometimes the defect is caused by the underlying shape of the bones and other times it is caused by the defect in soft tissues overlying the bone. Implants that are used to improve the contour of the face must be non-toxic, well accepted by the body, look and feel natural, and not go away with time.

The surgeon usually chooses to use hard implants to reconstruct bone and soft or liquid implants for soft tissues. Facial implant surgery can be done as an outpatient procedure under local or general anesthesia.

Complications such as infection and bleeding are rare but may occur as is true for all surgery. A unique complication of foreign materials used, such as solid silicon, is the possibility that they may not be positioned correctly. Should there be infection, the solid implants would have to be removed for a time and then replaced later.


The two natural implants available for improving the bony contour are bone and cartilage. The artificial materials available are hydroxyapatite (combination of calcium with phosphate), solid silicone, Gortex and polyethylene among the many choices. The materials used for minor soft tissue defects are the person’s own fat or skin (dermis) or artificial liquid products such as collagen or other newer products not yet available in the U.S.

The disadvantage of natural materials is that they may get smaller because of absorption. The reason for using artificial materials is the ease of obtaining them and the unlimited supply. The disadvantage of artificial materials is the risk of infection requiring their removal. People who choose to have nasal implants are usually those who are born with flat noses or those who have had too much bone removed from their noses during previous surgeries.

Face Implant, Part 2

People choose facial implants because they want to improve their facial contour.

Implants may be used for correction of deformities caused by birth defects, or as a result of trauma. Then there are those who would like implant enhancement of certain facial features.

The type of implant used must imitate the feel of real life tissue. Many types of implants are now available including tissue taken from the body called autogenous implants which include bone and cartilage, fat, skin or synthetic material including artificial bone, silicone, gortex, (Teflon), and plastic (polyethylene). Natural tissue will be partially absorbed and become smaller with time in many cases. Synthetic material will usually maintain the form and size but there is a small risk of infection requiring its removal. Whatever the patient and the surgeon decide has to be individualized according to the benefits versus risks.


People with flat cheeks because of their racial background, arrested development as a result of a disease syndrome, or trauma. Others feel they would look better if they had an enhancement of the prominence of their cheek.

In most cases the flat cheek is not lack of flesh but rather lack of bone under the flesh. It is therefore quite common for the surgeon to choose a very firm material such as the person’s own bone, or artificial bone, or a synthetic material such as hard silicone or polyethylene. Other surgeons may choose to use a softer material such as Gortex placed directly on the bone. By far, the most common implant that has been used is silicone.


The next is of a person who had receding chin. In some cases it is not always the chin that is small but the upper jaw that juts forward too far. It is important for the surgeon to make the correct diagnosis and correct the real culprit causing facial deformity.

Postoperatively the patient is asked not to eat hard foods for a couple of weeks postoperatively this patient looked like a totally different person. She no longer had chubby cheeks, which were chubby, only when the chin was disproportionately smaller. She was another happy camper to be sure.


Cosmetic surgery can improve not only the physical appearance of a person but the psychological health of a person making the person less self-conscious and a greater asset to society by improved interaction with other people.


It can be seen that cosmetic facial implants can impact people’s lives very significantly because it is by the looks of the person’s face that much interaction takes place between people. We are fortunate to live in a time when there are multiple techniques that are available to enhance the way we look and improve the quality of life we lead.