The use of facial implants to change one's facial contours is a very popular plastic surgery procedure today. Whether it be the chin, cheek, or jaw angle areas, facial implants are used more today than ever before. The number of shapes and sizes of facial implants has exponentially increased over the past ten years as well. But what accounts for their popularity?
The use of implantable synthetic materials plays a critical role in a number of cosmetic strategies for improving the shape of the face. Significant advances in materials science and facial implant designs during the past two decades have made certain types of synthetic implants critical for the esthetic augmentation of facial landmarks and contours. Their popularity today and their increasing frequency of use is a direct result of increased patient demand for facial improvement, the limitations and complications of trying to do the same thing with bone grafts and the remarkable tolerance of the face to any implanted material due to its excellent blood supply.
Regardless of their chemical composition and structure, synthetic implants assure the plastic surgeon of two very appealing things. First, it makes the operation fairly simple as an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution to change the face in the desired way. Secondly, synthetic implants are predictable in size and shape which will not change over time. These two features are particularly attractive to any patient seeking elective esthetic facial surgery where a low number of potential risks, how much time it takes to recover, and the reliability of the outcome are major factors in the decision to undergo surgery. In short, facial implants are relatively simple operations that work well and have few complications when done well.
There are some patients, of course, who are adverse to the concept of a foreign material being put in their face. But once the procedure is explained and they can actually see and feel a real facial implant, these fears are usually washed away. Particularly when the alternative (moving the bone or trying to build the area up with bone) treatment strategies are far less appealing and not nearly as reliable. . . . and with a considerable cost difference.
Dr Barry Eppley is a board-certified plastic surgeon in private practice in Indianapolis, Indiana at Clarian Health Systems. (http://www.eppleyplasticsurgery.com ) He writes a daily blog on plastic surgery, spa therapies, and medical skin care at http://www.exploreplasticsurgery.com