Infraorbital Nerve Dysfunction after Cheek Implant Removal

Q: Dr. Eppley, I’m at 45 year-old male who had Medpor cheek implants for 18 years and had no problems until about 2 years ago. One became infected and wasn’t attached to bone or by screw so it was removed about 3 months later. I’m now at 15 months after having the implant removed and dealing with odd sensations just in my upper lip. Basically everything moves and looks fine but the area on my lip is super sensitive. I feel fine in the morning but as the day goes on and I speak it almost feels like a stretching feeling and I become aware of my upper lip. It’s bothersome but not painful. I’m thinking this is sensory nerve damage but not sure. Will it get better or what are my options for relief?

A: What you are experiencing is infraorbital nerve dysesthesia as an effect from cheek implant removal. Whether it will resolve adequately on its own depends on the linear progression of symptoms over the past year. In other words are the symptoms you are experiencing lessening over time or have they plateaued now for many months. If it is the former you give it another 6 months and see if further improvement is seen. If not then you consider infraorbital nerve decompression (removal of scar tissue around it) with fat graft coverage (a small buccal fat graft) to prevent recurrent adhesions.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana