How Do I Know When I Have An Infected Nasal Implant?

Silicone, gortex implants (sometimes irradiated cartilage or bone) are very common for augmentation rhinoplasty. A small percentage of these will become infected over a lifetime, around 10%.

An infected implant is a very serious medical condition and should not ever be taken lightly. How will you know?

First, the implant may be protruding from through the skin on the dorsum (top part) of the nose of thorugh the tip. A break in the skin covering the implant is an infection and must be treated accordingly.

Second, the implant be almost protruding through the skin where is has become very thin. This area may be very tender to the touch. This is called a near extrusion, and again, surgical treatment by a Plastic Surgeon should be sought to address this situation.

Third, the nose may be red, painful, draining, with a foul odor. You may have fevers or a headache. Even if the implant has not come thorugh the skin, this is a sign that the implant is likley infected. On some rare occasions, starting antibiotics right away may allow the implant to be the saved and not removed. Most often, the implant will have to be removed.

An infected implant of any type (nose, breast, knee, etc), in principle, must be removed. After it is removed, the body is allowed to heal (3-6 months), and the patient may be a candidate to have another implant placed. Often times, it is best to simply avoid an implant and replace the area with “self tissue.” This tissue can be made of skin, fat, or fascia from yourself and will become a part of your body and will have the best chance to heal without future infection.

If you suspect an infection with your nasal implant, please seek the care of a Plastic Surgeon right away who will be able to address the infection. If you can find a Plastic Surgeon who also has experience with Nasal Implant surgery, even better! But do not wait until the infection becomes so severe that the implant is protruding through the skin. This creates a very difficult problem for Reconstructive Plastic Surgery.