Will Medpor Cheek Implants Last A Lifetime?

Q:  Dr. Eppley, I would like to get Medpor cheek implants for higher and more defined cheekbones. My question is, since I am relatively young (25), will Medpor implants hold throughout my entire life if they don´t get infected or damaged by an accident? Could I be, let’s say 100 years old, with a Medpor implant in my midface since I was 25 years old? Do Medpor implants show any tendency to dissolve over time? Is it true that Medpor becomes more like a part of your body due to its porous nature that allows blood vessels grow into the implant?

A: Medpor facial implants are composed of a porous polyethylene (PPE) material. This is a well known medical implantable synthetic material that is most commonly used on orthopedic implants as the lining of joint surfaces. (high molecular weight PPE) As a facial implant, it is a lower molecular weight which gives it some flexibility. Pertinent to your question, it is a stable material that does not degrade. There is no enzyme in the body that can break it down…ever. Your facial implants will be found on your skeleton thousands of years from now. Medpor does have surface porosity so there is some tissue growth into the outside of the implant.  This property is often touted as being a superior implant feature but its main benefit is that it helps fix and secure the implant into place. Screw fixation obviates the need for that material feature. This material property does make the implants more difficult to remove should that be necessary so it is a double-edged feature.

Rather than getting hung up on the material composition of a facial implant, one should focus more on does it have the right shape and size for the desired result. Medpor cheek implants do have less options for styles and sizes than silicone-based cheek implants.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana