Q: Dr. Eppley, I was wondering if metal wires was used to stabilize the bone after a cheekbone reduction, can this cause a systemic body rash or highly unlikely? If so, can the wires be removed? What are the risks? Thank you.
A: Wires used in facial skeletal bone fixation are highly unlikely to cause a systemic reaction like a body rash or other tissue reactions. They are made of stainless steel which, unlike titanium plate screws which are now more commonly used in the face for such procedures as cheekbone reduction, do not a higher risk of allergic reactions. However, I have never heard of or read of such reactions occurring in facial bone fixation with stainless steel wires.
Regardless wire ligatures can usually be removed in any facial bone where they are located. They would be removed through the same incision by which they were put in. As long as the bones are well healed they should be no risk in doing so other than the temporary swelling that results from the removal procedure. Most cheek bone reductions heal very quickly, as do most facial bone fractures/osteotomies, so I would not think that cheekbone positioning would be affected.
Dr. Barry Eppley