What Is The Best Way To Solve My Facial Implant Infection?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had facial implants on my mid-face (a “mask” for cheeks and paranasal augmentation). It was done 3 months ago. Since then, I’ve had the right side of my face infected twice. The first infection occurred two months after surgery, inflammation and a hole with a lot of pus coming out. I went on antibiotics and got the zone cleaned up by a doctor. I also got a scanner done after the antibiotics’ treatment, and the infection was “resolved”.

But yesterday, 3 months after surgery, I’ve started experimenting inflammation again. I’m currently taking antibiotics once more. My doctor thinks there’s a relation between cold or flu and the persisting infection of the implants. She thinks this since the two infections occurred after having flu, this because the fixation of the implants generated “holes” in the bones, and a sinusitis or a cold may also infect the implants through these holes. I’ve read about “biofilms” and I think that might be the cause.

Anyway, what would it be the best approach to treat my situation, knowing that I want to at least keep the argumentation in the paranasal zone around the nostrils and mouth, this if saving the whole mid-face implant is not possible.

– An extraction of 3 months old implants and immediate replacement with new ones would be an option?

– Do I have to wait and let my face heal after implant removal before thinking about getting new implants?

A: Antibiotics rarely solve implant-related infections due to biofilm. Thus believing that an implant infection is cured within a short time after going off antibiotics is overly optimistic. While antibiotics are certainly an important treatment frankly purulent infections require a surgical approach. As a general statement the shortest path to getting an implant infection resolved in an assured manner is to remove the implant, let the tissue heal and re-implant it later. I have seen a lot of time wasted and long postoperative courses of treatment ensue when the ‘nuclear’ option is not enacted early.  But it actually gets to a satisfactory end a lot sooner.

Having not performed your surgery and not knowing any defails about the implants I can not provide any more imsight other than the aforementioned general statement about aesthetic facial implants and infection.

Dr. Barry Eppley

World-Renowned Plastic Surgeon