Do I Need To Replace My Chin Implant?

Q : I have a medpor chin implant as part of some cosmetic surgery 4 years ago.  The implant is eroding the bone and my oral surgeon says it must come out.  He doesn’t want to replace it.  I am in no pain and I like the way I look.  Do I have to have this surgery to remove it?

A: Medpor chin implants have a uniquely porous material of which they are composed. One of the purported benefits to its material is that it will cause less bone erosion underneath when it is placed in the chin area. The phenomenon of the implant settling into the chin bone is known as pressure resorption. This unique chin implant phenomenon has been recognized for decades. It is a natural phenomenon and is very similar to what is seen in breast implants. When breast implants are replaced many years later, the underlying rib cage will often have a concave surface or bowl where the implant sat. Such bone resorption is what happens when the soft tissue is stretched by an implant, it pushes back just a little bit over a long time. Since the synthetic implant is a solid non-resorbable material, the underlying bone relieves itself of the pressure by some resorption. ..and the implant settles or erodes to some degree into the bone.

While you may have some chin implant settling into the bone as evidenced on an x-ray, it is not a problem in my opinion. You have no symptoms and you are satisfied with your existing chin projection. Surgery to replace your chin implant seems to be an overreaction to a non-problem.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana