Q: Dr. Eppley, I had cheek implants placed 4 months ago together with a buccal lipectomy. However, they got infected 2 weeks post-op, but I’ve only managed to get time off to remove them in 2 weeks. I’ve been taking antibiotics to control the infection in the meantime.
Anyway, I’ve read that removing these implants can cause some sag, and I’m particular worried because I’ve also had my buccal fat pads removed. I have read that a temporal mid-face lift can help. However, I have a few questions:
1) Should I do the lift during the removal? Or, should I wait till I get the implants replaced? Will getting the mid-face lift during the removal limit my options should I decide to get more implants in the future?
2) If I wait to get the temporal mid-face lift, is there anything I can do to help minimize the sagging after removing the implants? Would taping my face during recovery help prevent sagging?
A: In getting cheek implants removed, no everyone will get a midface sag. It depends on how large the cheek implants were, their location on the bone, and how long they have been in place. Thus by having your cheek implants removed you do not know if you will develop this problem or whether it will be problematic even if it does occur. It would then make the most sense to remove the cheek implants and not commit to another invasive procedure that is done to treat a problem you do not know if you will even get.
The best approach to ‘hedging the bet’ against midface sagging with cheek implant removal is to do an immediate reattachment of the cheek tissue back to the bone. This is done by placing a small resorbable bone anchor or screw into the midbody of the cheek bone onto whoch the cheek tissues are reattached to. This would be far better than any form of external taping or dressings.
Dr. Barry Eppley