Facial implants and injectables have many uses in facial cosmetic surgery. Facial implants are most commonly used to enhance an area of the face that may be otherwise deficient, such as the chin or cheeks. Implants can also be used to strengthen facial features where weakness may be causing a functional as well as a cosmetic problem, most notably the nose. Facial injectables are used to eliminate specific facial lines, creases, and skin defects in a very quick and efficient manner.
Facial Implants: Silastic™
The majority of facial implants are made of solid silicone. Because the implants are solid there is no risk of silicone leaking into the bloodstream. The implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used to enhance almost any area of the face. Facial implants can make remarkable improvements in facial symmetry when properly sized and positioned. Your surgeon will take careful facial measurements and pre-operative photographs to help determine what size and shape implant would most benefit the area to be enhanced. The implants are placed through small, well-concealed incisions and are often placed in conjunction with other facial cosmetic procedures.
Facial Implants: Gore-Tex®
Gore-Tex is a synthetic material that is also frequently used as a facial implant. Gore-Tex has been widely used in vascular surgery procedures for many years and is very well accepted by the body. Its advantage in facial cosmetic surgery comes from its smooth texture, its ability to be sculpted and molded, and its reliability. Gortex is most commonly used to enhance the lips, fill the creases between the nose and mouth, and help smooth defects in the nose.
Facial Implants: AlloDerm®
AlloDerm is a relatively new product that is gaining in popularity with many facial cosmetic surgeons. It is derived from cadaveric human dermis that has been specially treated to remove any risk for disease transmission. Its obvious advantage comes from the fact that it is human tissue, and is therefore very well accepted. It is also extremely soft and excellent for lip enhancement and for use beneath the skin of the face.
Facial Implants: Hydroxyapatite
Some facial implants are made from Hydroxyapatite, a porous synthetic material which allows the body’s own tissue to grow into the pores for support. It is used mainly in areas that require more rigidity such as the nose.
Facial Injectables: Collagen and Dermalogen
These materials provide rapid and accurate correction of many subtle facial defects. Both of these materials are injected directly beneath the skin and essentially “fill” the area to help smooth and blend it with the surrounding skin. There is very little recovery time necessary and the treatments usually take only a few minutes. Collagen has been used for many years and has stood the test of time. It is derived from animal protein that has been treated to limit reactivity. The benefits from collagen last approximately 4-6 months, at which point it can be re-injected.
Dermalogen is derived from human protein. This may allow it to be better accepted by the body and also allow its result to be more long-lasting. Both collagen and dermalogen require a test dosage prior to treatment to make sure there is no allergic reaction. The incidence of adverse reactions to either of these products is extremely low.
Tips to Remember:
- The main risks involved with any implant or injectable are infection, rejection and reaction at the site, which may result in scarring. These risks are very low and can often be corrected with medical therapy if they should occur. All patients are placed on appropriate antibiotic therapy for a short course.
- Placement of implants requires a surgical procedure and some bruising and swelling is expected. This is typically treated with ice for 48 hours and bruising usually resolves in 7-10 days. Be sure to discuss the recovery time with your physician so your lifestyle can be appropriately planned.
- There are some medical conditions that prohibit the use of implants or injectables. Always be truthful and thorough when discussing your medical history.
- You may notice the implant initially, but eventually most patients are unaware of any abnormal sensation.
- There is a physician always available should you have problems during your recovery period.