Cheek & Chin Implants - Process and Procedure
Facial implants are most commonly used to augment the cheeks and chin, although in rare cases, other areas can also be augmented. Today's facial implants are solid materials, and are not broken down or degraded by the body. Some implants allow the body's own tissue to grow into the implant. Recently, biologic materials have been introduced to fill in soft tissue creases and folds. Facial implantation is an excellent method to enhance the face, whether alone or in conjunction with other facial procedures.
Chin augmentation with an implant is a safe and effective procedure that can rapidly improve the definition of the chin and neckline. The implant is placed through a small incision on the inside of the lower lip or through an incision under the chin (the same incision used for liposuction of the neck). A chin implant is often an excellent addition to facelift surgery to enhance the neckline. Also, a weak chin makes a prominent nose seem larger, and rhinoplasty together with chin augmentation is an excellent combination.
Cheek implants are inserted through either an incision under the upper lip or through the lower eyelid. Augmenting the cheekbone can change the facial profile from a longer, oval shape to a more diamond or triangular shape. Cheek implantation can be performed at the same time as facelift, rhinoplasty or blepharoplasty.
What to Expect After Cheek & Chin Implants
After placement of a chin implant, sutures remain in place for 5-7 days. Typically, an elastic tape dressing is placed over the chin for the same period of time. Cheek implants are placed either through an incision in the lower eyelid or under the upper lip. Any sutures placed will dissolve on their own. A tape dressing may be placed over the cheek for about a week.
ACTIVITY AFTER SURGERY
In order to allow your tissues to heal properly, we ask that you refrain from brisk physical activity for two weeks. Walking and non-physical activities are allowed, but it is best not to exercise for the first 2 weeks. After the first 2 weeks, aerobics, running, stair climbing, exercise bicycling and treadmills are permitted, but weight lifting (free weights or machines) should not be done until after the end of the third week after surgery. However, once the effects of the anesthetics have worn off, it is not necessary to remain in bed or at home. You may shower as soon as the tape on the cheek or chin is removed. If an incision was made under the lip, you should limit your diet to liquids and soft foods for 10 days.
SWELLING AND BRUISING
Facial swelling is expected and may be more pronounced 24- 72 hours after surgery than it is immediately following the procedure. Most swelling will gradually resolve in 10 days. This swelling will make the augmentation seem "too large" initially; as the swelling resolves, the degree of augmentation also decreases to what was desired. Bruising, too, is normal. The bruises on your face may "fall" onto your neck and upper chest before disappearing. Most bruising will resolve in the first 7 days after surgery and may be concealed with makeup one week after surgery. In order to limit bruising and swelling, ice compresses should be applied over the both cheeks and neck for the first 24- 36 hours after surgery. Compresses should be applied for 20 minutes at a time, with 20 minutes before reapplying. Also, homeopathic medications Arnica Montana and Bromelain may limit bruising and swelling. This is best started at least 1 week before surgery and continued for 3 weeks; check with your doctor before using these.
A feeling that the face, cheek and chin are numb also occurs. Normal sensation usually returns within several weeks.
Minimal oozing of blood and tissue fluid along the suture/staple lines can occur for a few days following surgery. Bleeding that is severe or does not stop with 10 minutes of continuous pressure is rare and should be reported to our office.
Facial tightness is greatest in the first several days after surgery, but may persist to some degree for several weeks. This is due to subtle swelling in the facial tissues that will subside. Be assured, your face will again feel "normal".
Most patients experience little pain afterwards; most describe the discomfort as "soreness", easily controlled with acetaminophen or acetaminophen with codeine.
Your face may feel "heavy" for a few weeks following surgery. This is due to swelling and changes that occur with healing.