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How Do You Choose Between Silicone And Gore-Tex Nasal Implants?

Silicone or Gore-Tex: the perennial dilemma in choosing a nasal implant

A rhinoplasty procedure that aims to raise the bridge of the nose or make the nose “higher” or “stronger” is called an augmentation rhinoplasty as it “augments” or adds material to the nasal bridge. Typically, the plastic surgeon will resort to using the patient’s own cartilage for this purpose and this can be harvested from one of the following three sources:

  • Nasal septum of the nose: paradoxically, the best choice of material for raising the height or the nasal dorsum (nasal bridge) is cartilage harvested from the nasal septum, itself. This is because not all of the cartilage that makes up the septum is actually necessary for maintaining the shape, strength and height of the nasal septum. So, by removing a rectangular portion of the cartilage from the septum and leaving a thick enough horizontal section at the top (the bridge) and broad enough vertical sections on the sides, the surgeon gets the material to add to the top of the septum and lift the nasal bridge.
  • Conchal “bowl” or the ears: this is the soft cartilage towards the back of the external part of the ear and is also known as auricular cartilage. It is soft and pliable and therefore typically used for minor augmentations to the nasal bridge and also for nasal tip reshaping.
  • Ribs: this is known as costal cartilage and is ideal for dorsal augmentation due to its straight shape and structural strength.  The ribs have abundant cartilage much of which is excess in nature and therefore can be harvested without impacting the rib cage.

Though cartilage is the most preferred material used by most surgeons for rhinoplasty, due to unavailability of sufficient extra cartilage in the patient’s own body (could be due to its usage in any previous surgery), surgeons often use synthetic materials like Silicone implants and Gore-Tex implants to help achieve the desired nose shape. Let’s get accustomed to both the materials and its usage before you have a more extensive discussion with your surgeon.

What is a Silicone nasal implant?

A Silicone nasal implant are the most commonly used synthetic material for Rhinoplasty. This material has used over several decades and thus has been tried and tested over the years. Silicone implants are the easiest to insert in shaping the nose and can be taken out easily in case of any problems experienced in later years. A minor incision is required to insert the silicone implant in the case of a closed rhinoplasty. Silicone is good for more pronounced nasal bridge lifting effects.

What is a Gore-Tex nasal implant?

Gore-Tex is a porous synthetic material used for rhinoplasty. It is made up of polytetrafluoroethylene (e-PTFE). It is better in integrating with the underlying tissues which gives a more natural look to the nose. Post the surgery, the tissue growth is more integrated with the Gore-Tex, helping it to be attached to the nasal structure. It gives a more natural looking nose lift than the Silicone implant.

nasal implant

What are the advantages of a Silicone nasal implant?

Silicone Implants are tried and tested over the years and are very popular. Silicone Implants are also cheaper than Gore-Tex and Cartilage in a typical augmentation rhinoplasty procedure. Furthermore, Silicone implants are easy to carve out by the surgeon for achieving the precise shape desired. Thus it can easily be customized to suit the individual patient’s need and to fit the patient’s facial features. Though it comes pre-formed, the plastic surgeons typically trim it as per the patient’s requirement.

The most common shapes of Silicone implants are L-shape and I-shape. The L-shape gives height to the nasal bridge and definition to the nasal tip. I- shape helps in the nasal bridge area only. A Silicone implant is carved and encapsulated by a tissue envelope in the specified area. The advantage of this is it can be removed or replaced easily in case of protrusion, malposition or infection which is not possible in the case of Gore-Tex.

What are the advantages of a Gore-Tex nasal implant?

Since Gore-Tex integrates well with the tissues, it does not usually get displaced over time. Gore-Tex is also capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, unlike Silicone. Gore-Tex gives a more natural look in comparison to the results achieved by Silicone implants.

What are the drawbacks of a Silicone nasal implant?

Silicone Implants are hard materials which can make the nose look unnatural. Over time, it puts pressure on the skin, which results in the implants becoming more visible. However the possibility of the Silicone implants becoming visible is less among the Asians as they have thicker skin. Also Silicone implants are more prone to infections. There is a possibility of implant protrusion if the implants is bigger than the capsule within which it is supposed to fit.

What are the drawbacks of a Gore-Tex nasal implant?

Gore Tex is more expensive than Silicone Implants. In the case of infection, it is nearly impossible to remove the Gore-Tex implant as it integrates well with the nasal tissue. There is also possibility of shrinkage in the case of Gore-Tex. As we age, the soft material of Gore-Tex is prone to changes. A revision rhinoplasty, if required, would inevitably cause damage to the surrounding nasal tissue.

How long does the rhinoplasty procedure using a nasal implant take?

For both Gore-Tex and Silicone implants, it takes 1-2 hours for the rhinoplasty procedure. Local anesthesia is given in the both the cases of Silicone implants and Gore-Tex implants.

Looking for a rhinoplasty procedure? Get in touch with leading plastic surgery clinics in Korea and Thailand to find out which material is more suitable for your nose job by clicking here.