The appearance of your face is determined by three basic components: skin, soft tissues and underlying facial bones. Defined facial features, visible contours and natural angles that are proportionate all create structural balance in your face and a more attractive appearance.
If the structure of your face is disproportionate—the chin is recessed, the jaw undefined or cheeks are ﬂat—it can significantly affect your self image. If you are bothered by a small chin, weak jaw or lack of facial contour, plastic surgery with facial implants may benefit you.
- 1 Before and After Photos
- 2 Understanding the Facial Implant Procedure
- 3 Before You Decide…
- 4 The Facial Implant Procedure
- 5 Recovery
Before and After Photos
Understanding the Facial Implant Procedure
Facial implants bring balance and better proportion to the structural appearance of your face. They define your face by increasing projection and creating more distinct features. Facial implants are specially formed solid materials designed to enhance or build up the structure of your face, like your chin, cheeks, or jaw. The precise type of implants best suited for you requires an evaluation of your goals, the features you wish to correct and your surgeon’s judgment.
Chin implants can increase the size and projection of a chin that does not project in proportion with the forehead and mid-face. A small or recessed chin can also be described as one that seems to disappear into the neck of an individual of normal weight, rather than appearing as a distinct facial feature. Chin implants are specially formed solid materials designed to enhance or build up the chin.
Cheek implants increase the projection of the cheekbones. They add volume to areas which may be recessed or ﬂat.
Jaw implants increase the width of the lower third of your face. Much like the chin, a weak jaw is not well-defined and distinct from the neck, or slopes rather than angles from the ear to the chin. In some cases, both the chin and jaw can contribute to facial imbalance.
If symmetry among facial features is part of your goal, facial implants may be recommended to augment more than one facial region. It’s important to remember that all of our faces are asymmetric to some degree and your results may not be completely symmetric. The goal is to create balance and proportion. Your procedure may be performed alone, or as a complement to other facial contouring procedures such as nose or ear surgery.
Before You Decide…
To ensure the most natural looking results, it’s imperative for a surgeon to recommend the procedure which most appropriately matches the patient’s needs and to offer realistic expectations for post-surgery outcomes. When you meet with a surgeon, you should expect a full discussion of the surgically appropriate options for your face, which is uniquely yours.
A good surgeon goes through a series of examinations and observations that are individual and dependent upon your specific situation and goals, but also factor in the surgeon’s expertise, training and experience.
The success and safety of your procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.
Be prepared to discuss:
- Why you want the surgery, your expectations and desired outcome
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
- Previous surgeries
We may also:
- Examine and measure your face
- Take digital photographs for computer imaging
- Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of facial implant surgery and any risks or potential complications
- Discuss the anesthesia options available
Questions to Ask
- Were you trained specifically in the field of plastic surgery?
- How many years of plastic surgery training have you had?
- Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure?
- Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally- or state recognized accrediting agency?
- What procedure is recommended for me?
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- How many procedures of this type have you performed?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure?
- What surgical technique is recommended for me?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
- What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
- How are complications handled?
- What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome of my cheek surgery?
- Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for this procedure and what results are reasonable for me?
Who is a good candidate?
Plastic surgery with facial implants is best performed on people who have reached physical maturity, which generally occurs in late adolescence.
This procedure is a good option for you if:
- You are physically healthy
- You don’t smoke
- You have a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for improvement of facial contours
Because every case is unique, the only way to accurately determine which procedure is best for you is to consult with Dr. Alexander.
What does it cost?
A quote will be provided to you after your consult with Dr. Alexander. Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery, but remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the ﬁnal cost of the surgery. We offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask.
- Surgeon’s fee
- Operating Room and Supplies
- Implant costs
- Anesthesia fees
- Prescriptions for medication
- Medical tests
Most health insurance plans will not cover facial implant surgery, related complications or another surgery to revise the appearance of your face. You must carefully review your health insurance policy.
To learn more about our partner in payment plans, please visit CareCredit.
The Facial Implant Procedure
Preparing for the Procedure
Prior to surgery, we will have you:
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
- Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
During a preoperative appointment, usually 1-2 weeks before surgery, we will:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Tell you what to do on the night before and morning of surgery
- Discuss the use of anesthesia during your procedure
- Explain post-operative care and follow-up, and what help you will need after the procedure
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include local anesthesia, intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. We will recommend the best choice for you based on your personality, your desires, and the complexity of your procedure.
How We Do It: Tutorial
The procedure typically takes about 30-90 minutes depending on the implants used, individual face, and certain surgical variables.
There are five basic steps to facial implant surgery.
Step 1 – Marking
Dr. Alexander will make careful marks on your face prior to beginning the procedure.
Step 2 – The incision
Incisions for facial implants are generally made inside the mouth through the mucosa that lies over the bone where the implant will be placed.
Step 3 – Creating the pocket
A space is created under the soft tissue of the face and over the bone.
Step 4 – Inserting the implant
The implant is placed into the pocket and positioned. No sutures are needed because the pocket is the precise size of the implant, so it cannot move or shift.
Step 5 – Closing the incisions
Internal absorbable sutures close the incisions inside the mouth. A light, compressive dressing is placed on the chin to decrease swelling.
Pain from facial implant surgery is usually minimal. Pain pills are provided, but are usually not required after a couple of days. Significant pain is extremely rare and may be the sign of a serious complication, so your physician should be notified.
Important facts about the safety and risks of facial implant surgery
The decision to have facial implant surgery is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the beneﬁts will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.
We will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.
Some of the risks include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Poor wound healing
- Change in skin sensation
- Damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs can occur and may be temporary or permanent
- Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents
- Excessive scar tissue formation
- Firmness around the implant
- Shifting of implants and pressure on surrounding structures
- Skin contour irregularities
- Skin discoloration and swelling
- Skin sensitivity
- Pain, which may be persistent
- Possibility of revisional surgery
- Anesthesia risks
Important Terms to Know
Anesthesia—General: The patient is asleep, requiring that the airway be protected, either by a standard breathing tube, or by a laryngeal mask (LMA), an inflatable mask that goes in the back of the throat but doesn’t go down the trachea. Through the airway, an anesthesiologist gives gases to put the patient asleep. Drugs may also be given through the IV.
Anesthesia—Local: The surgical area is numbed up with an injection, but the patient is awake. Sometimes a patient will be given an oral medication, like Valium, to help with relaxation.
Anesthesia— Sedation (Twilight): The patient is made sleepy with medications given through an IV. The level of sedation can be adjusted, from barely sleepy to very sleepy. Sometimes sedation is given by the surgeon, but most of the time it is administered by an M.D. anesthesiologist.
Biocompatible Materials: Synthetic or natural material used in facial implants and designed to function along with living tissue.
External Incisions: Surgical incisions made on the surface of your skin.
Intraoral Incisions: Surgical incisions made inside the mouth.
Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
When your procedure is finished, bandages will be applied to keep the surgical site clean and to support the position of the implant during initial healing. There may be an itchy feeling under bandages. It is essential that bandages remain intact and are not removed, for any reason.
You will be given specific instructions that include:
- how to care for the surgical site
- medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection
- specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in overall health
- when to return to the office
We will see you the day after surgery, then on the 3rd day to remove your bandage. No sutures need to be removed. At one week you can resume normal activities. At two weeks you can begin light exercise, and at four weeks there are no restrictions.
Following your doctor’s instructions regarding medications and other post-operative measures is key to a quick recovery. Herbal medications are available to reduce swelling, bruising, and to speed your recovery.
It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Avoid wearing any clothing that must go over your head.
While the initial outcome of plastic surgery with facial implants is noticeable almost immediately, it can be obscured by visible swelling. Often patients can feel that the implants are too large. It may take several months for swelling to fully dissipate. In addition, facial movements may be temporarily restricted or impaired. These are common conditions. There is usually very little bruising.
In general our patients are very pleased with their facial implant surgery. The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. Small revisions are occasionally necessary.