Facial Implants - FAQ
Facial Appearance is determined by three basic components: Skin, soft tissue, and underlying bones or the facial skeletal structure.
When that structure is disproportionate - the chin recessed, jaw undefined or cheeks flat - it significantly affects not only how others see us, but also how we see ourselves. Defined facial features, visible contours and natural angles that are proportionate, together create structural balance and a more attractive appearance.
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 the facial structure can be augmented with implants, the cheek or malar area, chin and jaw are the most common sites for facial implants. In general, facial implants bring balance and a better proportion to the structural appearance they define by increasing projection and creating more distinct features.
What are facial implants?
Facial implants are specially formed solid materials compatible with human bone and tissue, designed to enhance or augment the physical structure of the 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 plastic surgeon's judgement.
Plastic surgery with facial implants can produce a marked improvement in the underlying structure that forms facial appearance, improving proportion and balance. Although facial implants can improve the proportion, shape or size of virtually any region of the face, three more common sites for facial implants include the chin, jaw and cheek or malar region.
Chin Implants can increase the size and projection of a small or recessed chin, one that in profile does not project evenly with or beyond 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.
Jaw Implants increase the width of the lower third of the face. Much like the chin, a weak jaw can be defined 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.
Cheek Implants increase the projection of the malar regions. They add volume to areas which may be recessed or flat.
Where do I begin?
A consultation eith your plastic surgeon is the first step to learn how facial implants can improve the structural appearance of your face. A consultation is designed to fully educate you about plastic surgery with facial implantsin a non-pressured environment, and will include:
- A discussion of your goals and an evaluation of your individual case
- The options available course of treatment your plastic surgury with facial implants
- The prescribed course of treatment your plastic surgeon recommends
- The likely outcomes of plastic surgery with facial implants and potential risks associated with any prescribed procedure
Your plastic surgeon will also answer your questions.
Overall health and personal outlook can greatly impact the outcome of facial contouring with implants. These will be carefully evaluated in consultation with your plastic surgeon. The success of your procedure, safety and overall satisfaction requires that you:
- Honestly share your expectations with your plastic surgeon
- Fully disclose health history, current medications, the use of vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Commit to following all of your plastic surgeons's instructions precisely
By making the decision to consult with a plastic surgeon and following all the instructions given, you are taking an important step in assuring your safety.
My facial implants
Your plastic surgeon will recommend the appropriate techniques to bring balance to your facial structure using facial implants.
Facial implants are formed from solid, bio-comatible materials specifically designed for safe, long-term placement. The first consideration in plastic surgery with facial implants is implant selection: determining the necessary implant size to safely achieve structural balance. Where only one facial feature is disproportionate, this feature alone may be augmented with implants.
If symmetry among facial features is part of your goal, remember that all of our faces are asymmetric to some degree. Results in any case may not be completely symmetric, although the goal is to create facial balance and correct proportion.
Facial implants may be desired or recommended to augment more than one facial region. The procedure may be performed alone, or as a compliment to other facial contouring procedures such as nose or ear surgery. Where facial implants are used in conjuction with a facelift to improve the signs of aging, the implant will likely augment the size of the cheek structure, creating a more pronounced mid-face than a facelift alone.
All facial implants are placed surgically, through incisions that create a supporting pocket beneath skin and soft tissues. Muscle and tissue surrounding the pocket hold the implant in place. Depending on the implant location, size and material from which the implant is formed, it may further be immobolized with sutures or surgical screws.
Preparing for surgery
Your plastic surgeon will carefully explain the facial implant procedure you will undergo. Prior to your procedure, you will be given specific instructions that may include:
- Pre-surgical considerations, diagnostic testing and medications
- Day of surgery instructions and medications
- Specific information related to the use of anesthesia
In addition, you will be asked to sign consent forms to assure your plastic surgeon that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.
Risks associated with solid, surgically placed facial implants include infection, excessive scar tissue formation and firmness around the implant, shifting of implants, minor nerve injury and risks associated with anesthesia. These will be fully discussed prior to your consent.
It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon. It is natural to feel some anxiety, whether excitement for the anticipated outcomes or preoperative stress. Discuss these feeling with your plastic surgeon.
What to expect
Plastic surgery with facial implants is performed using local anesthesia that may include sedation, or general anesthesia. The decision is based on the requirements of your specific procedure and considerations of patient and surgeon preference. Your plastic surgeon and the assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.
Once your procedure is complete, bandages or dressings may be applied to cover any incisions and to support the position of the implant during intitial healing. Before being released following surgery, your or an accompanying family member, friend or caregiver 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
Progress and healing
Initial healing may include swelling or numbness, and discomfort that can be controlled with medication. In addition, facial movements may be somewhat restricted or impaired. These are common conditions.
If your implants have been placed through intraoral incisions (those inside the mouth), you may be restricted to a soft or liquid diet to avoid moving your jaw during the initial phases of healing and for your comfort. It is essential that you rinse your mouth several times daily with an antiseptic solution even if you are able to brush your teeth.
In addition your plastic surgeon will provide specific postoperative instructions. Follow these instructions carefully; this is essential to the success of your outcome. A return to light, normal activity is possible as soon as you feel ready.
Initial wound closure may take 7 to 10 days, at which time any sutures will be removed, if necessary. Healing will continue for several weeks, as swelling dissipates and tissue surrounding the implant heals. Continue to follow your plastic surgeon's instructions and return for follow-up visits as scheduled.
Results and outlook
While the intitial outcome of plastic surgery with facial implants is present almost immediately, it will be obscured by visible swelling. It may take several months for swelling to fully dissipate. As you adjust to your new facial features, realize that others are also adjusting to your new appearance. Don't be surprised at how others might react to your choice for plastic surgery. What is most important are your feelings of fulfillment.