Has My Jaw Angle Implant Become Covered with Biofilm?

Q: Dr. Eppley, My main concern now is that my jaw angle implant itself has become “colonized” with a layer of film due to the persistent incision opening. Based on what I have told you, am I at a high risk of that? 

And if that happens and the infection returns, can it still be treated by reopening and cleaning the implant? I guess I’m quite concerned as that side of my jaw has been opened four times now – one for my initial jaw surgery, one to remove the jaw surgery plates, one to insert the implant, and one to adjust it. Is there a limit to how many times we can open this, with regards to scar tissue etc?

A: If an implant is colonize it is by definition ‘infected’. Should treatment be necessary the procedure would be a combined procedure of removal, cleaning out the pocket, re-sterilization of the implant and immediate reinsertion…..with closure aided by a pedicle buccal fat flap over the implant.

You are correct in that the tissues have thinned out over the implant due to recurrent surgeries. I have learned that unless new tissue is added between the implant and the mucosal non-healing of the intraoral wound will continue to occur.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana