Medpor Nose Job Implants Linked to Infections, Complications: Study

The findings of a new study seem to indicate an unusually high rate of infections and complications linked to patients who have received Medpor nose job implants.  

Research published online August 27 by the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery identified an increased rate of postoperative infection for nose job surgeries that used Medpor implants.

The study evaluated 662 rhinoplasty surgeries, some using common skin graft and others involving the use of alloplasty implants. The procedures were performed by three faculty surgeons at the Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland from 1999 to 2008.

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The study found an incidence of postoperative infection of 2.8 percent for all 662 of the procedures. Infections occurred in roughly 20 percent of patients that underwent procedures in which Medpor implants were used.

Of the 662 surgeries, Medpor or Gore-Tex implants were used in 151 of the procedures. In the cases where only Gore-Tex was used, another common implant made from expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) and manufactured by W.L. Gore & Associates, the infection rate was only 5.3 percent.

In nearly all the procedures where either implant was used, the implant began to protrude through the nose. In procedures where surgeons grafted tissues from the patients, there were no complications.

Rhinoplasty surgery, more commonly referred to as a nose job, is surgery on the nose done to change its appearance, and is sometimes completed with a common plastic implant.

Medpor nose implants, manufactured by Stryker Corp. and acquired from Porex Technologies in 2010, is a product made from porous high-density polyethylene (pHDPE).

Implants are often used in rhinoplasty surgery when a patient’s tissue or cartilage is unavailable from the nose, ear or ribs to graft and use for the surgery. Surgeons often prefer to graft a patients cartilage; however that takes more time than using a plastic implant.

Andrew Winkler, MD, co-author of the study and plastic surgeon at the University of Colorado in Denver, noted in the study, “Caution is strongly recommended when considering the use of pHDPE in rhinoplasty.”

Medpor and Gore-Tex are used for differing reasons. According to Winkler, one is soft and the other is stiff, so they are not interchangeable.

An infection resulting from a nose job surgery will often lead to another surgery, in order to remove the implant. Most often, antibiotics alone will not alleviate the infection.


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