Zygomatic Arch Implants

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have put some thought into those measurements you told me about regarding zygomatic arch implants. I have made some research of my own and I have a found a cheek implant from Stryker that is not far from being a zygomatic arch implant. It’s measurements are close to the ones you suggested  for me and my aesthetic goals (yours: 5cm length / 6-8mm width / 5mm projection height) which I assume can be carved/cut to meet your measurements even more.

Despite doing all of that sizing modification, the implant isn’t originally designed to sit on top of the zygomatic arch only. (This implant is also slightly bent in its shape). In the sample photo above, you can see that it is positioned in a way that starts just halfway on the zygomatic arch, going further over the malar prominence, whereas it ends at the maxillary buttress.

My question is; after the surgeon have carved/cut this implant to meet the sizing recommendations you sort of suggested, is it even acceptable to position this implant on the entire zygomatic arch?

A: I would be very cautious about using a Medpor material as a zygomatic arch implant. Besides the issue of its natural underlying shape (curved), the tissue ingrowth from this material will make it virtually impossible to ever remove or revise it later. There is a branch of the facial nerve that crosses over the posterior zygomatic arch that supplies movement to the forehead. While there is a very low risk of injuring this nerve during the insertion of the implant, trying to remove a Medpor zygomatic arc implant later due to the tissue ingrowth will almost certainly increase that risk considerably. If injured there will be some paralysis of the forehead. Thus this is not a material I can endorse as a zygomatic arch implant. Easy reversibility of a facial implant can be an important feature whose importance varies based on the anatomic facial location of placement.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana