Jaw Augmentation Surgery Types

There are two basic ways to augment the jaw: implants and injectable fillers.

Jaw Implants: These are a solid piece of silicone or other substance that are inserted along the sides of your lower jaw. The implants used in jaw enhancement surgery are usually synthetic. Some surgeons use bone or cartilage taken from elsewhere in your body, but that is done more frequently in reconstructive surgery than in cosmetic surgery.

The most common type of implant is solid silicone and comes in several appropriate shapes and can be custom carved. Solid silicone implants cannot rupture or leak silicone into the body.

Implants can also be made of polyethylene, expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), or an acellular dermal matrix product (brand name, Alloderm).  As with silicone, these implants come in different shapes and sizes or can be custom-made.

Usually, jaw implants are inserted through incisions in the mouth on the inside of the cheek. However, if other procedures are being done, such as a face lift or other facial implants, your surgeon may use those incisions for inserting your jaw implants. Generally, the jaw implant surgery is done in a surgeons office or freestanding surgical clinic.

One advantage of jaw implants is that they usually can be removed if you do not like how you look or if you have a complication such as an infection.

Injectable fillers: In recent years, cosmetic surgeons have started to augment the sides of the jaw with injectable fillers. These are products that are injected into the skin or just beneath it to make an area plumper or more prominent.

One type of injectable filler is fat taken from somewhere else on the body, which is called fat grafting or autologous fat transfer. It is your own tissue and therefore very safe, however it will be reabsorbed to some extent, which means the results may not be permanent. The fat is harvested using a syringe or during a liposuction procedure, treated, and then injected on the sides of the face.

Other injectable fillers used in jaw augmentation include collagen, hyaluronic acid, hydroxylapatite, and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Collagen and hyaluronic acid are temporary fillers and the body eventually absorbs them. You have to have more injections if you want lasting results. Hydroxylapatite is longer lasting, but also is usually absorbed eventually. PMMA injections are considered permanent.

The downside to semipermanent or permanent injectable fillers is that if there is a problem or if you do not like the results they can not be easily removed. There is also the possibility that they will move out of place or form lumps.

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