Author: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2002.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) implants are made of a carbon and fluorine based synthetic polymer that is biologically inert and non-biodegradable in the body.
For over 20 years PTFE has been used as an implantable material for various conditions including vocal cord defects, arterial grafts, orthopaedic joint implants, and facial plastic surgery. More recently, advances in its manufacture have seen an increase in use of ePTFE in facial augmentation, either for reconstructive or cosmetic purposes.
PTFE can be manufactured into many forms, including paste, strands, sheets and tubes.
ePTFE is a woven form of PTFE that creates a mesh-like structure. It is flexible, soft and strong. ePTFE implants are porous so they allow the body's tissue to network and grow into it. However, even though the implant is permanent, it can be removed if necessary.
PTFE and ePTFE implants are also used for facial augmentation available as solid tubes, preformed shapes and patches. It is also possible to carve the material into customised shapes to improve the outcome of nasal and chin reconstructions or cosmetic augmentations.
PTFE and ePTFE implants are not as hard as silicone implants.
Facial augmentation with PTFE or ePTFE has been used for the following corrections:
Most people tolerate PTFE and ePTFE implants very well. Both are non-toxic polymers that the body does not recognize so rejection is very rare. Currently there are no confirmed cases of allergic reaction to PTFE and ePTFE.
The procedure is carried out at a doctor's rooms. The length of time will depend on what corrections are being made but usually take up to about one hour.
Procedure for PTFE and ePTFE implantation
PTFE and ePTFE implants are permanent. However, they can be removed if infection occurs or if the augmentation is no longer wanted.
The implants is usually well tolerated. Some discomfort occurs directly after the implantation. There may be some swelling, aching, and numbness but these usually resolve after a week or so.
The following complication may rarely occur:
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