Ray Heller, the vice president of sales and marketing for Implantech Associates Inc, has more than 17 years of medical device sales and marketing experience in domestic and international territories. In the late 1980s, he coordinated the launch of innovative laparoscopic products. Now, he oversees the sales and marketing for Implantech. His experience includes management of the Asian and Latin American territories for the neurosurgical division of Medtronic, a Fortune 500 company. Heller holds a degree in marketing from Northern Illinois University, and he is currently working toward obtaining his MBA.

In his current role, he is expanding the plastic surgeon’s educational tools for facial rejuvenation. In addition to offering a comprehensive resource guide for surgeons, Implantech is conducting a first-ever hands-on cadaver-dissection course—called the “Masters Series”—that is solely dedicated to the surgical technique of facial implants. The seminar, which will be held September 9–10, 2005, will include presentations by facial implant thought leaders.

Fillers (injectibles) have become increasing popular. How do facial implants compete with fillers?

Fillers are what bring patients to the surgeon’s office—that’s a great thing for everyone! Fillers also develop the patient-surgeon relationship. Typically, these patients are younger (female age 25–40) than the average patient (female age 45–65). After the initial filler treatment, the patient then comes back two to three times during the next 12–18 months. Fillers are the first step toward education and acceptance of surgical procedures for the patient.

What is the next step?

I call this the “continuum of care” in plastic surgery. Fillers are a temporary solution to the continuously aging face. In conversations with leading surgeons, the patient inevitably asks, “Is there a more permanent way to add even more volume?” The answer is yes, and this is the time when surgery can be introduced to the patient.

Where do facial implants play a role in the “continuum of care”?

Facial implants provide a long-term base from which the surgeon can perform adjunct procedures. The patient is now thrilled that he or she does not have to continue to come back every 6 months, but will be a lifetime customer!

The best example is the facelift (lower third, midface lift, or full facelift). Adding a chin or midface implant will provide long-term structure and 3-D volume for the aging face. Building on the continuum of care model, I have provided the following table:

Are there specific advancements in facial implants that help the patient’s aging face?

The Conform™ line of facial implants was developed over the past few years and is based on input from many different surgeons. The patented Conform backing is a gridlike pattern on the posterior side of the facial implant. This backing achieves two results:

• it makes the implant more flexible for placement through a smaller incision; and

• once implanted, it enables the Conform implant to truly “conform”to, or fit, the patient’s unique underlying bone structure. PSP