Facial implants are synthetic materials that are implanted to change the contours of the face. Most often, they are used to enhance the cheekbones, balance the chin, or improve the appearance of the jawline.
Who Can Benefit From Facial Implants?
If you feel you have a receding chin or weak jawline, or you would like higher cheekbones, you may be a good candidate for a facial implant. You may also benefit from a facial implant if your face appears out of balance or sunken. Some patients opt to have implants placed concurrent with other procedures, such as cheek implants at the same time as a facelift.
What is the Procedure Like?
The procedure varies depending upon where the implant is to be placed, but most facial implant surgeries can be completed in 30 minutes to two hours. Generally, incisions are made in the hairline, under the chin, or within the mouth so that any scars remain unseen. Sutures inside the mouth will dissolve on their own after a week or two, while most non-dissolving sutures will be removed by the doctor within a week of the surgery.
Facial implant surgery is usually performed in the doctor's office as an outpatient procedure, and you will probably be given a general anesthetic so that you will remain asleep during the surgery. In some cases, however, you can stay awake and drowsy under a sedative and a local anesthetic to prevent pain. You will be allowed to go home within a few hours of surgery, but you will need someone to drive you home and help you around the house for a couple of days.
What Can I Expect During Recovery?
Bruising, swelling, and mild pain are normal after the insertion of facial implants. Cold compresses can reduce swelling, and you will be given a prescription for pain medication. The doctor will give you instructions about your diet and how to take care of your teeth during the healing process, and you may have to stick to a liquid diet for a few days to avoid chewing too much.
The swelling may prevent you from seeing the final results of your implants for a period of weeks after your surgery. The results are often subtle, and you may find that people notice that you look better or younger without actually noticing the implants. You can return to work in about one week after your surgery, but you should avoid strenuous exercise or sports activity for up to six weeks.
What Are the Risks of Facial Implants?
Facial implants are very safe, and complications are highly unusual. On rare occasions, an implant can shift position, which requires additional surgery to correct. In some rare cases, nerves may be irritated or injured during surgery.