What Is The Risk Of Infection From Facial Implant Surgery?

Q: Dr. Eppley, what is the chance of any type of nerve damage from chin, jaw and cheek augmentations. Also, what is the rate of infection from facial implants? Mostly though I am concerned about nerve damage from these facial implants.

A:  When considering nerve damage from chin, cheek or jaw angle implants, you must separate the two types of facial nerves which are motor (risk of muscle paralysis) and sensory. (risk of numbness) There is no risk of facial paralysis from any of these facial implants. Where they are inserted from, which is usually from inside the mouth (with the exception of a chin implant), does not come near any branch of the facial nerve. Risk of some numbness, temporary or permanent, is the more common nerve risk of facial implant surgery. Branches of the trigeminal nerve at risk are the mental (chin implants), infraorbital (cheek implants) and the long buccal nerve. (jaw angle implants) It is rare that permanent numbness would result from these surgeries.

Infection is always a risk from the placement of any type of synthetic material into the face. While the face is exceedingly well-vascularized, it is still possible for infection to occur from bacterial contamination during their placement. The infection risk is about 1% to 3% and is slightly higher when the implants are placed from inside the mouth vs. through the outside of the skin. A chin implant is most commonly placed through an incision under the chin through the skin.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana