Facial implants are designed to augment, rejuvenate, or reconstruct the projection of the face—the contours created by the interaction of facial bones and the overlying skin and soft tissue. Dr. Tauber of DeLuca Plastic surgery uses skeletal implants to modify the framework of the face, producing dramatic results. These implants are often combined with a soft tissue augmentation, such as fat transfer, to treat hollow cheeks, restoring harmony and symmetry. These techniques can also be combined with a skin removal surgery, such as a facelift or blepharoplasty, in a holistic approach to facial rejuvenation. While each procedure is tailored to the individual patient, below is a general guide to facial implants.
The three main types of facial implants are chin, cheek, and jaw. Chin implants increase the size and projection of a chin that is not proportionate to the rest of the face. Cheek implants increase the projection of the cheekbones and add volume to areas that may be hollow or flat. Jaw implants increase the width of the lower third of the face.
Candidates for facial implants include people who lack projection of their cheeks or chin, or who desire a more angular jaw line. Patients should be late adolescents or older so that the head and skull have reached physical maturity. Best results will occur for patients who are physically healthy and do not smoke.
Although fillers and fat implants are often performed in conjunction with facial implants, they are not the same procedure. Facial implants are made of silicone or Medpore (porous polyethylene). They are surgically inserted under the skin and fixed in place with screws. Fat transfers, on the other hand, involve harvesting fat from another area of the body, cleaning it, and surgically inserting it into the face. Fillers are a non-surgical option in which a volumizing liquid is injected into lines, wrinkles, or hollow areas to create a fuller, more youthful appearance. Facial implants are longer lasting than most fillers and require fewer incision sites than fat transfers. However, consulting with a plastic surgeon is the best way to determine which type of procedure is best for an individual patient.
During the consultation, Dr. Tauber will go over the details of the procedure and collect information from potential patients to determine whether they are good candidates. He will also take photographs and perform a general health examination. Surgical candidates should come to the consultation prepared to ask any questions they have about the procedure.
The facial implants procedure will take place in the DeLuca Plastic Surgery office. Before the surgery begins, Dr. Tauber will draw surgical markings on the face to assist with implant placement and indicate the location of underlying structures to avoid. The patient will be administered both general and local anesthesia. Dr. Tauber will then make the incisions. Their locations will depend on the position of the implant, but they are generally hidden in the mouth, on the inside surface of the eyelid, or under the crest of the chin. The implants are then positioned in a way that complements and augments the natural angularity of the face. Accurate and precise implant positioning combined with screw fixation ensures proper placement and protects vital nerves and other structures from injury. At the end of the procedure, the incision will be closed with sutures and may be bandaged or taped.
Recovery is similar to other facial surgeries and is typified by swelling and bruising that is greatest during the first few days and then tapers off over the next couple weeks. Patients can apply a cold compress to the implant site to reduce swelling, bruising, and pain. Depending on the procedure, drains may be placed. In these cases, Dr. Tauber will provide care and cleaning instructions, as well as an antibiotics prescription if necessary. Stitches will be removed in five to ten days after the surgery, and sutures placed inside the mouth will dissolve in a similar period of time. Although recovery time will vary, most patients can return to work and other normal activities within a week. Vigorous physical activity can be resumed after four to six weeks.
Dr. David Tauber is a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive training in facial surgery. He performed his fellowship in Aesthetic & Reconstruction Craniomaxillofacial Surgery at Harvard Medical College & Massachusetts General Hospital. He has since received certifications in Advances in Craniomaxillofacial Surgery: Mastery Course, Advances in Facial Restoration and Rejuvenation, and Basic Maxillofacial Principles and Techniques. He holds active affiliations with Albany Medical Center Hospital, Albany Memorial Hospital, St. Peter’s Hospital, and St. Peter’s Surgery & Endoscopy Center.