How Successful Are Jaw Implants Long-Term?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am a 20 year old male and have what I would describe as a long and narrow jaw. I am wanting to get my face/jaw to be wider and more masculine to that of a square jaw type face and understand this can be done via mandible implants? I want to know would these implants last forever as I hear a lot of stories that the implants get infected or shift. I wouldn’t want to have them for say 25 years then on the 26th year something goes wrong. I could have a wife and kids then and would be a whole new person. Are these implants successful?

A:  All facial implants, including any used in the mandible, are made of synthetic materials that do not degrade or resorb. Thus the implants are permanent, will not wear out and will last the rest of one’s life. This does not mean that they can not have problems as any implant surgery in the body may have. In facial implants, the risk of infection is an early one related to the time period around implantation. Once well healed, the risk of infection is very rare. Shifting of one’s implants can occur over time but can be completely prevented if the implant is secured into position by the use of bone screws. Well placed, well secured facial implants have a very low risk of any long-term problems. To be most successful, like any plastic surgery, choose your surgeon carefully as implantation technique has the greatest influence on long-term prevention of potential problems.  

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana