Rhinoplasty is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the world. But the news that a common type of plastic implant used for nose jobs may have a higher rate of complication than earlier thought may give patients a second thought on this procedure.
A recent research conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado says one in five rhinoplasty procedures using Medpor, which is made out of porous high-density polyethylene, resulted in infections. In almost all these cases, the implant ultimately began protruding through the wound.
According to plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Winkler, who headed the study, patients should carefully evaluate the advantages and side effects of nose jobs using Medpor.
Surgeons did not find complications when they grafted tissues from the bodies of patients, like ear, nose or rib cartilage.
Under the study, which is the biggest of its kind to date, researchers studied medical records of 659 patients who had gone through rhinoplasty for reconstructive or cosmetic purposes.
All the procedures, majority of which were performed with no artificial implants, were carried out at Portland’s Oregon Health and Sciences University.
Medpor and Gore-Tex, which are two of the most common nose implants used in the US, were utilized in 151 cases.
The study found a total of 19 infections in the plastic implants, and in 18 of these cases, the implant started jutting through the skin. Researchers found 19 percent infection rate with Medpor and 5 percent with Gore-Tex.
The best solution is grafting the cartilage of the patient, but this may not be always practical, says Winkler.
These findings suggest that Gore-Tex is relatively safe, as indicated by previous studies. Medpor and Gore-Tex, however, are utilized for different purposes, thus they should not be interchanged.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel, head of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Boston Medical Center, using the cartilage from the own body of the patient is normally possible, but it takes a longer time compared to a plastic implant. Harvesting the cartilage also has its own risk of complications, though it is only minimal.
To avoid these scenarios, experts strongly advise patients to discuss thoroughly their options with a board certified surgeon. Patients should take into account the pros and cons of the procedure before deciding to go through it.