People seek facial plastic surgery for a variety of reasons. Rhinoplasty, for example, is a popular surgery that can address a range of concerns about the appearance of the nose: size, shape, and profile. During a rhinoplasty consultation, individuals sometimes ask if silicone implants can address structural deficiencies and improve the nose’s contour. Often presented as an easy and affordable option, it is no wonder people consider implants. However, this shaping technique has very serious disadvantages.
What is a solid silicone nose or facial implant?
Silicone implants consist of silicone or a synthetic plastic polymer. Unlike grafting techniques, which requires harvesting and reshaping cartilage from other parts of the body, implants are manufactured structures placed in the face in order to augment size or alter shape. A silicone implant can be pre-shaped or custom-made.
Many individuals consider facial silicone implants because, on the surface, they seem like a simple option that can produce the desired outcome. However, very often the opposite is true. The long term risks associated with silicone implants in the face outweigh the benefits and patients should be aware of the problems they can cause.
Silicone implants in the face can cause serious complications.
How well does the body react to silicone in the face? Often not that well. Here are some common problems with synthetic facial implants:
- Material limitations: Silicone never incorporates with the body’s surrounding tissue. Instead, the body attempts to “wall off” these implants in order to separate itself from them. As a result, the implants never become a part of the body. Therefore, they can never defend themselves from infection or trauma.
- Movement: Silicone implants can shift position or get significantly displaced either while healing, or any time in the future, making the outcome less predictable.
- Imperfect matches: Many silicone implants are pre-shaped, which means that they may not conform well to an individual’s facial or nose anatomy.
- Erosion of underlying bone: Facial implants can put pressure on the facial bones on which they sit. Over time, this can cause erosion and absorption of the underlying bone.
- Infection: Silicone implants in the face have a significant risk of infection. Occasionally this infection occurs many years after surgery. Once infected, a facial implant must be removed.
- Erosion: Synthetic implants in the face can put pressure on the overlying skin. Over time, this pressure can erode the skin and cause the implant to get exposed. When this occurs, the implant needs to be removed.
Cartilage grafting typically yields better results, with fewer risks.
The best way to reshape or augment the nose is to use your body’s own tissue. Most commonly, we use cartilage grafts for the structure, support and shape we need. If an individual does not have enough cartilage in the nose, cartilage from either the ear, or the rib, can be used. In fact, this technique is the preferred choice by most top rhinoplasty surgeons from around the world. Cartilage grafting can improve:
- Nasal bridge definition: Cartilage can augment the nasal bridge, making it an excellent surgical option for those with less than desired prominence in that area.
- Tip appearance: During a revision rhinoplasty procedure, cartilage may be used to correct a problem with over-resection (removal of too much tissue) of the tip.
- Support: Cartilage grafts are frequently used in rhinoplasty to bring structural support to the nose. Structural support helps ensure both an aesthetically pleasing and functional nose.
Consulting with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Augmenting and reshaping the nose requires the introduction of material that can provide structural integrity in the long term. Because everyone’s nose anatomy is unique, the surgical technique needs to be customized. It is important to find an experienced plastic surgeon to perform your rhinoplasty or other reconstructive surgery.
If you would like to change the shape of your nose and would like to know more about the most advanced surgical techniques, please contact Dr. Robert Morin, one of New York’s top rhinoplasty specialists.