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Facial Implants

Facial Implants | Fante Eye and Face Centre | Denver COWith the advent of injectable fillers for facial volume augmentation, the popularity of permanent facial implants has diminished. However, since all of the FDA approved injectable fillers are temporary (typically 6-24 months for hyaluronic acid gels, for example), sometimes a permanent implant makes more sense. In addition to the lack of ongoing maintenance and potential for fluctuation in appearance, permanent implants offer another benefit: they can provide support for aging, sagging, or damaged soft tissues in a way that gels just cannot. As a consequence, implants continue to have a place in both cosmetic and reconstructive oculofacial plastic surgery. Dr. Fante has given courses on permanent facial implants to his colleagues at national scientific meetings, and has experience with many types of implants.

Types of Facial Implants

Depending on your specific needs, Dr. Fante will help you decide which type of facial implant will help fix your problematic area.

Chin Implants

Permanent chin implants can be placed as part of face and neck lift, or as a stand-alone procedure. They obviously improve the projection and the shape of the chin for people in whom the chin is weak, but they also usually enhance shape of the overall jawline and neck. They are implanted either through a small skin incision in the submental crease (the natural crease that forms under the chin) or through a small incision inside the mouth at the base of the lower front teeth. Either way, the implant is positioned carefully to avoid interference with lip movements, facial expression, and sensation. Multiple sizes and shapes are available, and samples can be seen during your consultation with Dr. Fante.

Cheek Implants

Permanent implants can be placed along the cheekbones or adjacent to the border between the cheek and the lower eye area to improve facial shape and fullness. They are available in many sizes and shapes, and can be customized to your face. They can be placed as part of eyelid, cheek, or face lift surgery, or performed as a stand-alone procedure. Injectables such as hyaluronic acid gel (e.g. Juvederm Voluma XC), calcium hydroxylapatite (Radiesse), or poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra) are temporary alternatives. You can discuss the details of each of the various options during your consultation with Dr. Fante.

Temple Implants

Sunken temples are one of the many signs of advancing age, and are also sometimes seen after certain types of neurosurgery and accidents. Emptiness at the temples may be more obvious is people with thin faces and shorter hair. Restorative implants can be placed using discreet incisions behind the hairline, and can permanently improve appearance. Injectables such as hyaluronic acid gel (e.g. Juvederm Voluma XC), calcium hydroxylapatite (Radiesse), or poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra) are temporary alternatives. You can discuss the details of each of the various options during your consultation with Dr. Fante.

Lips Implants

Disappearing lips can be a concern for both men and women as they age. Most of us lose volume in the lips, and this together with the effects of sun, frequent movement, (and tobacco for those who use it) causes vertical lip lines, loss of definition at the border between the vermilion and the skin, and general shrinking of the lips. Lip augmentation with temporary hyaluronic acid fillers (such as Restylane, Juvederm, Belotero, Perlane, etc) is very popular but requires maintenance injections every 6-12 months. Permanent lip implant technology has evolved as well, and permanent improvement in lip shape and size can now be accomplished in a simple office procedure using local anesthetic. The new implants are soft and discreet, and of course, come in many different sizes. Like the filler injections, the permanent implants do not interfere with lip movement or sensation, so that kissing, speaking, eating, and smiling do not change. You can discuss the details of each of the various options during your consultation with Dr. Fante.

Facial Fat Transfer

For almost all of the situations described above, it is also possible to use your own fat to improve volume loss in your face. It is called “autologous” fat and can be gently taken from your belly, hips, legs, or neck with special liposuction, and then carefully injected into your face with special instrumentation This can be done in a single procedure in the privacy of our office suite, or at an ambulatory surgery center or hospital, as part of other facial rejuvenation surgery (such as eyelid or face lift) or as a stand-alone procedure. We know that some of the fat will not survive being moved in this way, but much of it will survive, and will then live permanently in the new location. Many people will have substantial improvement in facial volume loss from just one fat transfer procedure, but others may require more than one. Your own fat has several advantages, including a perfectly natural feel, and that it naturally carries stem cells with it. These stem cells will sometimes create an improvement in your facial skin appearance. While not for everyone, autologous fat transfer is an exciting development in the practice of oculofacial plastic surgery. Dr. Fante has given courses and lectures on autologous fat transfer to his colleagues at national scientific meetings. You can discuss the details of this and the other various options during your consultation with Dr. Fante.

Are Facial Implants Safe?

While the problematic breast implants were liquid silicone that leaked, facial implants are made from solid silicone (that can’t leak) or from porous polyethylene plastic. Both materials have a long track record of safe use throughout the body in millions of patients. As for any implanted foreign body such as screws, pins, and artificial joints, there is a small chance of infection from dental procedures and other surgery, and so you would want to ask your doctor whether prophylactic antibiotics might be advisable.

Recovery From Facial Implants

Particularly with older people we see that recovery can be prolonged, even doubled in time, after extensive fat transfer procedures. As with any surgery, there is a spectrum of recovery that is affected by overall health, nutrition, adherence to physician instructions, and the number of concurrently performed procedures. Dr. Fante will do his best to make sure you are fully informed about the anticipated recovery from any of the facial implant options you are considering.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are interested in a facial implant, contact our Denver office today! Call (303) 839-1616 to schedule a consultation with facial plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Fante.