Top Articles

Facial implants, like every other medical technology, continues to evolve with time. Some implant materials and shapes that were used decades ago have become discontinued and replaced with newer designs and material developments. When unearthing some of these older implants today for replacement or even seeing them on 3D CT scans can seem archaic by today’s standards. But it is important to remember that back when these older implants were placed that may have been the best that was available at the time.

But beyond implant materials and shape changes the biggest advancement in facial implants since their introduction over forty years ago is 3D custom implant designing. Merging high quality 3D CT scans (at less than 1mm slicing) with sophisticated computer design software has created facial implant augmentation possibilities far beyond what has historically existed. Gone is the necessity of a surgeon eyeballing what needs to be done or trying to take implant styles and sizes that are available to fit whatever the estimated facial augmentation need is. 

The greatest example on the face where this incremental leap in technology can be shown is in jawline augmentation. In the past and still commonly used today is taking three implants and piecing them together to create a circumferential lower third of the face augmentation effect. While still used today, and it can be effective in some patients, the placement and aesthetic outcome risks of three independently placed implants is considerably high. It is easy to see how a preoperatively design implant based on the patient’s actual bone structure with a unified wrap around design is more likely to create an improved aesthetic outcome. It is very common in custom jawline implants to have to remove prior implants and by comparison the difference speaks for itself. (in this case standard Medpor jaw angle and a hand modified silicone chin implants were removed)

This does not mean that a custom jawline implant design creates a perfect result every time as o surgery can make that happen. But with a lot more thought put into the implant design before surgery, when tied with computer imaging to determine the patient’s goals, greater changes in the lower third of the face can be obtained than ever before. 

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Top Articles