When Is The Normal Time For Infections To Occur After Cheek and Chin Implants?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I got revision surgery with Medpor cheek implants and chin implant (through the mouth) five weeks ago. As my surgeon lives in a different state, I was very paranoid about the possibility of getting an infection. For the first post op month, I put myself on a very strict diet of liquids and no chew foods (e.g. porridge) so no food got stuck in the incisions. I had taken oral antibiotics post surgery and bought myself a gargle even in fear of getting an infection. 

Now at 5 weeks, I fear the worst has happened. The left cheek implant and chin implant are very sore and painful and red. There is also some slight pus that oozes when I press on the areas. I contacted my surgeon and was told 5 weeks out of surgery the infection was probably caused by myself, rather than the surgery itself. He told me that if the infection was from the surgery itself, it would’ve been apparent in the first week to three weeks post op.

From your experience of implants, what would be the reason why an infection occurred so late. How common is it to have an infection appear suddenly beyond the first month?

A: This is not a late infection, this is exactly when it happens. Most facial implant infections do not occur before 3 weeks after surgery and can develop as late as 8 weeks after implantation. This is why I always tell patients that the risk of infection is not 100% past until three months after surgery.

All such infections occur because they got either got inoculated during surgery or got contaminated after surgery due to a wound opening. Either way it is not the patient who can cause an infection. 

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Dr. Barry L. Eppley
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Board Certified Plastic Surgeon