What Will My Cheeks Look Like After Cheek Implant Removal?

Q: Dr. Eppley,  you have mentioned your experiences with porex facial implant removals. I am looking to get my pair of porex cheek implants removed that were placed about a year ago. I am 26 years old and hoping my face will be able to return to its pre-surgical state, but given the scar tissue must be removed am I setting my expectations too high? I am worried that if they are removed my cheeks could be even more depressed than before my original surgery.

A: I have heard and read about the ‘scar tissue’ that must be taken with Medpor facial implant removals numerous times. From my perspective, it is largely a myth and not reality. It is very similar to them being hard to remove as well. Both those issues stem from a comparative experience with that of silicone facial implants. Compared to the very easy removal of any silicone-based implant (it is very smooth so it slides in and out easily), the porous outer surface of Medpor does make it more ‘difficult’ but then anything would be hard compared to silicone. Medpor implants can be removed with just a little more effort and there is no reason to be taking out any scar tissue (known as the surrounding capsule) with them.

Therefore, when it comes to removing your Medpor cheek implants, a potential loss of volume in the cheeks will not come from having had scar tissue removed. But it is likely that it will occur due to a common implant sequelae known as tissue expansion. Depending upon the size of the implants you have in, there will likely be some cheek volume loss and/or sagging due to the stretching of the overlying tissues and the separation of the attachments of the tissues to the bone. Once the implants are removed, these tissues may not stick back down just the way they were before surgery. This potential problem can be countered by either inserting a smaller replacement implant, performing soft tissue resuspension, or inserting a dermal graft into the implant space to act as a ‘natural’ implant volume replacement. Whether any of these are appropriate for you is impossible me to tell based on the information that you have provided.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana