I had a chin augmentation 38 years ago. For about two months now, I have been having pain in that area. This was accompanied by swollen glands. A couple of weeks ago, a small hole developed under my chin and every morning there would be drainage coming from that hole. Well, my chin implant came out of that hole.
My question is this: Does this happen often? Why did it happen after 38 years?
Non-incorporating facial implants like silicone chin implants can become infected at any time after their placement, even decades later. The cause can be anything from dental work including root canals, gastrointestinal procedures including endoscopy to infection elsewhere in the body such as a urinary tract infection that seeds the implant. It is prudent to take prophylactic antibiotics if you have non-incorporated implants and are going to undergo a dental or other invasive procedure. Once the infection is apparent it is important to remove the non-incorporated implant within days in order to avoid bone loss caused by the infection and to minimize irrepairable damage to the tissues. Once removed for infection it is prudent to wait 6 or more months before replacing an implant.
Complications following the surgery are not common but this type of complication probably makes up about 10% of the complications that do occur.
It's a strange case. In more than 40 years of practice, I've never heard anything like it. Medicine is not an exact science, that's what our mentors always taught us in medical school. I think there are some possibilities: in 1981, there were still first-generation implants. You may have a hand-carved silicone rubber implant on site, which may have been contaminated with material or germs that were not abundant enough to cause an infection, but incubated for 38 years; another probability is that your implant was soft, made of silicone gel, which could also have been contaminated and produce a long-term incubation to result in open infection; next, your implant was not made of silicone but of acrylic or a soft porous material called Proplast, and that again, keeping within a latent contamination, that became evident years later; The last option I see is that some predisposing factor caused such an end as a strong blow to the chin or sleeping face-down for a long time.
Although extremely rare, an implant can become infected at any point in the future. I’m sorry to hear of your issues but the best case scenario was for it to come out so that you could clear the infection.
I have never seen a chin implant extrude, or become infected and require removal. It rarely happens. I hope you recovered uneventfully.