What are facial implants?
Facial implants are specially formed solid materials compatible with human tissues, designed to enhance or augment the physical structure of your face.
The precise type and size of facial implants best suited for you requires an evaluation of your goals, the features you wish to correct and your surgeon's judgment.
While any area of your face can be augmented with implants, the cheeks, chin and jaw are the most common sites for facial implants. If you are bothered by a small chin, weak jaw or lack of facial contour, plastic surgery with facial implants may benefit you.
Chin implants can increase the size and projection of a chin that is not in proportion with the forehead and mid-face. A small or recessed chin can also be described as one that seems to disappear into the neck of an individual of normal weight, rather than appearing as a distinct facial feature.
Jaw implants increase the width of the lower third of your face. Much like the chin, a weak jaw can be thought of as one that is not well defined and distinct from the neck or one that slopes rather than angles from the ear to the chin. In some cases, both the chin and jaw can contribute to facial imbalance.
Cheek implants increase the projection of the cheekbones. They add volume to areas that may be recessed or flat.
Who is a good candidate for facial implants?
Plastic surgery with facial implants is best performed on people whose head and skull have reached physical maturity, which generally occurs in late adolescence.
You may be a good candidate for facial implants if you:
- Are physically healthy
- Do not smoke
- Have a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for improvement of facial contours
How much do facial implants cost?
The average cost of cheek implants is $3,015, the average cost of chin augmentation is $2,364 and the average cost of lip augmentation (without injectable fillers) is $1,767, according to 2018 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This average cost is only part of the total price – it does not include anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses. Please consult with your plastic surgeon's office to determine your final fee.
A surgeon's fee for facial implants will be based on his or her experience, the type of procedure used and the geographic office location.
Many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans for facial implants, so be sure to ask.
Facial implant costs may include:
- Anesthesia fees
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Medical tests
- Prescriptions for medication
- Surgeon's fee
When choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for facial implants, remember that the surgeon's experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
Are facial implants covered by health insurance?
Most health insurance plans will not cover facial implant surgery, related complications or another surgery to revise the appearance of your face. You must carefully review your health insurance policy.
What should I expect before getting facial implants?
What should I expect during a consultation for facial implants?
During your facial implants consultation be prepared to discuss:
- Your surgical goals
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
- Current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use
- Previous surgeries
Your plastic surgeon will also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
- Take photographs
- Discuss your options
- Recommend a course of treatment
- Discuss likely outcomes of facial implant surgery and any risks or potential complications
It's very important to understand all aspects of your facial implant surgery. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
What questions should I ask my plastic surgeon about facial implants?
Be sure to ask questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask your plastic surgeon during your facial implants consultation.
- Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- Were you trained specifically in the field of plastic surgery?
- How many years of plastic surgery training have you had?
- Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? If so, at which hospitals?
- Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally- or state-recognized accrediting agency, or is it state-licensed or Medicare-certified?
- How many procedures of this type have you performed?
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure?
- What shape, size, surface texturing, incision site and placement site are recommended for me?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
- What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
- How are complications handled?
- What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the cosmetic outcome of my facial implant surgery?
- Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for each procedure and what results are reasonable for me?
How should I prepare for facial implants?
In preparing for facial implants, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Facial implant surgery may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical facility, licensed ambulatory surgical center or a hospital. If your procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
What are the risks of facial implants?
The decision to have facial implant surgery is extremely personal, and you'll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of facial implants are acceptable.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks and potential complications.
Facial implant surgery risks include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Poor healing of incisions
- Anesthesia risks
- Change in skin sensation
- Damage to deeper structures—such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles and lungs—can occur and may be temporary or permanent
- Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents
- Firmness around the implant
- Shifting of implants
- Skin contour irregularities
- Skin discoloration, swelling and sensitivity
- Persistent pain
- Possible revisional surgery
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
What are the steps of a facial implants procedure?
A facial implants procedure may include the following steps:
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The options include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia.Your doctor will recommend the best option for you.
The specific area to be augmented in the cheek determines where an implant will be positioned on the cheekbone. Cheek implants are most often placed through incisions in the mouth. When performed with other procedures, alternate incisions may be recommended including placement through an incision inside the lower eyelid or one within the hairline.
For a chin implant, the incision may be inside your mouth, along the crease that joins your lower lip and gums. An incision just beneath the chin is an alternative.
Jaw implants are generally placed through the mouth with incisions inside the mouth, back along the jawline at the crease where the inside of your cheek and gums meet. Your incisions will be closed with absorbable sutures or stitches that will be removed within one to two weeks following your surgery.
What should I expect after getting facial implants?
What should I expect during my facial implants recovery?
During your facial implants recovery, bandages or dressings may be applied to keep the surgical site clean and to support the position of the implant during initial healing once your procedure is finished.
You will be given specific instructions about how to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
- When will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed? When?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
What results should I expect after facial implants?
While the initial outcome of plastic surgery with facial implants is present almost immediately, it will be obscured by visible swelling. It may take several months for swelling to fully dissipate.
The final results of your facial implants will be long-lasting; however, the initial healing phase may include localized swelling, discoloration, numbness or discomfort. In addition, facial movements may be temporarily restricted or impaired. These are common conditions.
Although good results are expected from your procedure, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself. Following your physician's instructions is essential to the success of your surgery. It's important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion or motion during the time of healing.
What words should I know about facial implants?
Synthetic or natural material used in facial implants and designed to function along with living tissue.
Surgical incisions made on the surface of your skin.
Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
Surgical incisions made inside the mouth.
Seatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.
A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.
How do I choose a plastic surgeon for facial implants?
Getting facial implants involves many choices. The first and most important is selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon you can trust who is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
ASPS member surgeons meet rigorous standards:
- Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery® (ABPS) or in Canada by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada®
- Complete at least six years of surgical training following medical school with a minimum of three years of plastic surgery residency training
- Pass comprehensive oral and written exams
- Graduate from an accredited medical school
- Complete continuing medical education, including patient safety, each year
- Perform surgery in accredited, state-licensed, or Medicare-certified surgical facilities
Do not be confused by other official-sounding boards and certifications.
The ABPS is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), which has approved medical specialty boards since 1934. There is no ABMS recognized certifying board with "cosmetic surgery" in its name.
By choosing a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, you can be assured that you are choosing a qualified, highly-trained plastic surgeon who is board-certified by the ABPS or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.