Occipital correction with custom-made silicone implants
The aesthetic success of occipital corrections can be reliably guaranteed by using silicone implants specially adapted to the patient’s head shape. In contrast to earlier methods, where, for example, the implant was modelled with bone cement (PMMA) during the operation, the skin incision can be kept considerably smaller (4-6 cm) by using custom-made silicone implants, so that no visible scar remains. Careful preparation and precise positioning of the silicone implant is of great importance for a perfect result. Therefore the surgical treatment takes about two to three hours and must be performed under general anesthesia. Some plastic surgeons fix the silicone implant to the cranial bone with a titanium screw. However, so far there has has been no proven advantage with regard to the permanently stable implant position. However, since this titanium screw occasionally leads to chronic pain, we strongly advise against such a fixation.
How is the silicone implant accurately inserted?
In order to achieve an optimal correction result, a shape template (moulage) for the implant is modelled together with the patient in front of the mirror. The silicone implant is then adapted using this template. We adapt the model individually with the patient, this allows him/her explore his/her own ideas about the implant in detail, getting a very detailed picture of the final result after the operation.
What are the risks of occipital implants made of silicone?
The occipital implants consist of a silicone shell and are filled with highly polymerized silicone gels. A typical and long-term consequence of silicone implants is capsule fibrosis, which can also occur, for example, during breast augmentation with silicone implants. This causes a foreign body reaction around the silicone implant, which results in the formation of a capsule. In contrast to silicone implants on the breast, such a development rarely represents a necessity for changing the implant. This is because the skull bone has a much harder consistency than the soft mammary gland. However, if long-term problems should arise with a silicone implant for occipital correction, the implant can be replaced at any time in a short procedure.
What should be considered after the operation?
For monitoring after the operation, you should expect a stay of one night in our private clinic for plastic and aesthetic surgery. An elastic bandage is applied at the end of the operation to counteract the swelling of the back of the head and neck, it can be removed before leaving our clinic. In order to keep the swelling in the operating area as low as possible, consistent cooling and physical protection is recommended. After about six weeks you should be able to work normally again.
Can an occipital correction also be carried out with the patient’s own fat?
Transplants using the patient’s own fat are suitable for many areas of plastic surgery and are becoming increasingly popular. So it is not surprising that in the newer literature, individual case reports
on occipital correction with autologous fat have been published. Even if the first results seem promising, there is still doubt surrounding sustainability. For this reason, we continue to recommend the proven custom-made silicone implants to our patients.
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