Would A Jaw Angle Implant Help Improve My Facial Asymmetry?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am a 37 year old female with microtia of the left ear. I have thought long and hard about pursuing the reconstructive surgery but I have decided not to proceed with it. I think I have become a little more comfortable with the situation just understanding more about the condition and I am also deterred by the uncertainty and expense. I am however interested in any minimally invasive option to improve my facial asymmetry. Are facial implants an option to do so?

A: Thank you for sending your pictures. As I suspected in left hemifacial microsomia, the jaw on your affected side is smaller with no jaw angle present. Surprisingly the rest of your face above the jawline has minimal to no effect in terms of underdevelopment. You are correct in assuming that a jaw angle implant would be helpful. An implant could be placed that builds out the left jaw angle and jawline as it comes forward. This implant would be placed through the mouth and then screwed into the existing jaw bone. There are two ways to go about choosing the jaw angle implant style and shape. The ideal way is to custom make an implant off of your jaw model that would be made from a CT scan. While this is ideal, it adds considerable expense to the cost of the surgery. The other way is to use an off-the-shelf jaw angle implant and modify it during surgery to fit. It would not create as good a result as a custom implant but it would still make good improvement for you.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana