Should I Have My Infected Cheek Implants Removed?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had cheek implants and paranasal implants placed overseas two months ago, but it appears that the ones on the left side have been infected (yellow drainage, mild swelling). My issue is that I do not have the time to get them removed right now. I’m thinking of going to a local doctor to get antibiotics to try and control the infection in the interim. If I do that and wait till year’s end to remove them, will it cause any permanent issues (excessive tissue scarring)? 

As for the removal, have you ever had any cases whereby you only removed the infected implants? I understand that this will cause asymmetry, but could I use fillers for the side where the implants were removed to compensate (at least until I get the implants reinserted)? 

Finally, would waiting 6 months before reinsertion be enough time for the tissues to heal and for the infection to clear? Or, would you recommend waiting even longer?

Sorry for these questions, but I can’t seem to contact my original surgeon right now, and I was hoping you could just help assuage some of my concerns.

A: This is disappointing that you trusted a doctor to do the surgery and now you can not get a hold of him to answer the most basic of questions when you have a problem that he created.

In short, antibiotics will only keep the problem at bay temporarily with infected cheek implants. Leaving them in, if infected, is just going to cause a lot of scar tissue that could make future surgery problematic. If infected it is in your best interest to have them removed, let it heal and then reinsert 3 to 6 months later. Injectable fillers or fat injections should not be placed into the cheeks after implant removal for a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks after the infection has cleared.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana