What Is The Best Material For Facial Implants?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in getting a chin implant and think I want the Medpor type. I have read about them and what there advantages and disadvantages are.  They say their advantages are that tissue ingrowth decreases movement which prevents erosion of the underlying bone and permits access of the implant to the immune system, reducing the long-term risk of implant infection and rejection. They can also be carved better to solve asymmetries. Their disadvantages are that they are harder to remove, higher risk of infection in the first few weeks and are more difficult to place. Are these accurate?

A:While there are material differences between Medpor and silicone rubber (silastic) for facial implants, choosing an implant based on its material composition is findamentally flawed. What is most important are the following issues in facial implants: 1) What is the correct implant style and size for the facial skeletal problem and 2) How easy is it to place, secure and subsequently remove if need be. If you fail to achieve these first two goals in using facial implants, then it really doesn’t matter what the material composition is.

Neither implant material type and their style and size selections is right for every patient and every facial aesthetic need.  The advantages and disadvantages of each material must be considered on an individual patient basis. Some of your listed advantages and disadvantages of  Medpor facial implants are inaccurate such as being easy to carve and adapt to the bone site, they are actually much harder to shape and place. Medpor has no proven advantage over silicone when it comes to infection/rejection. Medpor also has many less styles and sizes of available facial implants compared to silastic facial implants.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana