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Author: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2002.
A polyethylene implant is a porous synthetic polymer that is biologically inert and non-biodegradable in the body. High density polyethylene (HDPE) solid implants have been used by plastic surgeons since 1985 in facial augmentation, either for reconstructive or cosmetic purposes. The porosity of high density polyethylene allows for soft tissue and vascular ingrowth, which helps in keeping the implant in place.
Polyethylene implant is used in chin, cheek and jaw line reconstruction. The material can be carved or contoured to fit a particular 3-D space. It is also widely used for facial repair following accidents and for correction of congenital defects.
Most people tolerate the polyethylene implant very well. It is a non-toxic polymer that the body does not recognise, so rejection is very rare.
The procedure is carried out in a doctor's rooms. The length of time will depend on what corrections are being made but usually takes about an hour.
Procedure for polyethylene implantation
Polyethylene implants are considered permanent. They can be removed, although with more difficulty than implants such as silicone, which do not allow for tissue integration to occur.
Polyethylene implants are usually well tolerated. You can expect some discomfort directly after the implantation. There may be some swelling, aching, and numbness but these usually resolve after a week or so.
The following complication may rarely occur:
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