Jaw Implants

Q: Dr. Eppley, About eight years ago I had a jaw implant that I was very happy with the result. However, as I’ve aged and my face has lost volume, I’m interested in slightly increasing the implants to (slightly) widen my face. I understand that one option may be to insert a “chip” underneath the existing implant. Is this correct? If so, what is the recovery period? Many thanks.

A: What you are referring to is the concept of adding a wafer of material under an existing implant or even placing an overlay on top of the implant. The latter is usually more effective as its effects are more directly translated to the overlying soft tissues. For widening  jaw angle implants which appears to be what you have, adding a wafer (shaved down implant) under the existing one would certainly be relatively atraumatic to do and would add just a slight bit of more width. However the complication rate is higher when two implants are stacked on top of each other. Thus while the wafer concept seems simple, it is probably better to just replace the jaw angle implants with new ones. This is really not much more traumatic than placing a wafer underneath them.i

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana