Cosmetic Surgery For The Face

Facial Implants

Implants of several materials can be injected into the face to fill in wrinkles.

  • Collagen. Collagen is the protein that makes up the white fibers of skin, tendon, bone, cartilage, and other connective tissue. Injections of bovine collagen (that is, collagen from cows) are used to fill in wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. Collagen is gradually absorbed and removed by the body, however, so injections must be repeated after six to twelve months. There is also a small chance that the body will reject collagen implants. Tests for allergic reaction should be done before the implant procedure is performed.
  • Fat Transplantation (microlipo-injection). Deep creases in the forehead and around the nose and mouth respond well to transplantation of the body’s own fat. Liposuction techniques are used to remove fat from sites of excess such as the thighs or abdomen. Local anesthetic is used for the liposuction; the incisions are small. The fat is then injected into depressions through a syringe and needle. Since this is the body’s own fat, there is no danger of an allergic reaction. The body absorbs much of the fat over time, however, and repeat injections are required.
  • Silicone. Silicone also works well on furrows in the forehead and large wrinkles around the nose and mouth. Special care must be taken when making the injections to prevent beading. Several repeat injections are required. The long-term safety of silicone injections is still under study.
  • Expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (Gore-Tex). Gore-Tex is an inert, porous, synthetic material often used as an insulator in jackets and sleeping bags. Tiny patches of Gore-Tex have been injected under the skin to fill out wrinkles. Because the material is very porous, cells and blood vessels can penetrate it. Allergic reactions are rare.

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