The most common method of chin augmentation is to use a synthetic implant. While there are a large number of chin implant sizes and styles, the compositions of them are more limited. The two most commonly used materials for chin implants are silicone elastomer and porous polyethylene. (Medpor) Each has their own merits and surgeon advocates but both can work well with good placement technique.
One of the highly touted advantages of Medpor implants is that they develop some degree of tissue ingrowth due to its semi-porous material property . This is opposed to the completely smooth surface of silicone implants which develop a surrounding scar capsule instead. While this tissue ingrowth is advantageous for long-term implant stability, it also makes the removal of Medpor facial implants difficult.
The difficulty with removing Medpor facial implants is well chronicled, particularly across the internet. Despite this purported difficulty, I have not had the same experience. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to remove or remove and replace numerous Medpor implants, most commonly those of the chin. While they are more difficult to remove than silicone implants, which literally slide right out, that difference in difficulty is only a comparative one. They are not impossible to remove nor are they ‘extensively destructive’ to the surrounding tissues to do so.
Many times in their removal it is easier to remove them in pieces as they fragment fairly easily. Here is a recent case I did where another surgeon secured a chin implant in with 8 screws! While I am a fan of screw fixation for facial implants, the reason for 8 screws in a single chin implant is unclear. With so many screws, the Medpor chin implant needed to be removed in pieces to access all of the screws.
A new Medpor chin implant, of a different size and style, was inserted and secured with two new screws. The underlying bone showed no resorption and the overlying soft tissues had but a thin capsule. There was nothing abnormal about the revised chin implant site.
Medpor facial implants should not be viewed as overly difficult or destructive to remove should they need be. The material easily fragments helping preserve the tissue quality of the recipient site.
Dr. Barry Eppley