Q: Dr. Eppley, Is there any possibility that a facial implant could become infected years after it’s put in? I’m guessing that if one were to have any kind of further surgery on the mouth (e.g., dental implants) then there would be a risk, but in general is there an infection window? The idea of wondering each day whether an infection could suddenly appear makes me uneasy. Especially as financial positions change down the line.
A: Any time you have a facial implant there is always a lifelong risk of creating an infection from one historic source….dental treatments. If the dentist is unaware that an implant may be below the tissues the injection of local anesthetic could inadvertently enter the implant capsule and innoculate the implant with bacteria. This is very rare but there have been a few documented cases of this occurrence. This risk is actually higher with cheek implants than any chin or jaw implant because where the needle would be placed to create local anesthesia is closer to where the implant resides. (maxillary vestibular infiltration) It is a consideration in a jawline implant but it is so exceedingly rare I am unaware of a single reported case.
Today’s aesthetic world has also created an additional risk for needle penetration into the implant capsule…injectable filler injections. This is more relevant in cheek and infraorbital rim implants because of the thinner tissue cover over them and being a frequent location for injectable soft tissue augmentation.
Dr. Barry Eppley