June 23, 2015
Full, defined cheeks are considered a sign of youth and beauty. Over time, it’s natural for the face to lose fat, causing the cheeks to become flat and the skin to become saggy. Some people are born with naturally high cheekbones that look perfectly sculpted, but many of us were not so lucky.
Cheek augmentation is a cosmetic surgical procedure that it is intended to enhance the structure of the cheeks on a person's face. To achieve this, a plastic surgeon may place a solid implant over the cheekbone or use injections with the patient’s own fat or synthetic fillers.
Facial implants are specially-formed solid materials that are compatible with human tissues, and they are designed to enhance or augment the physical structure of the face. Cheek implants increase the projection of the cheekbones; they add volume to areas that may be recessed or flat. Like other types of plastic surgery procedures, cheek augmentation can make the face appear more youthful or balance the facial features, making the patient feel more attractive.
There are three general shapes of cheek implants:
- Malar: These implants are placed directly on the cheekbones, providing higher cheek projection.
- Submalar: These implants provide fuller cheeks, rounding out a gaunt or sunken appearance.
- Combined: A combined implant augments both the cheekbones and the cheeks.
When to Consider Cheek Implants?
If the patient wishes to enhance the definition and fullness of his or her cheeks, to restore the contour and proportion of the facial structures that have been altered by aging, or to correct facial asymmetry or deformities resulting from injury or congenital conditions, cheek implants may be a viable option. Plastic surgery with facial implants is best performed on people whose head and skull have reached physical maturity. This generally occurs in late adolescence, and the procedure is not recommended for pre-adolescent children.
What is the General Procedure for Cheek Implants?
Cheek implant surgery is an outpatient procedure and is generally performed with the patient under local anesthesia and sedation to ensure his or her comfort. The specific area to be augmented in the cheek determines where an implant will be positioned on the cheekbone. Surgical markings are drawn on the face before surgery in order to assist the surgeon with implant placement.
The patient is positioned face-up on the operating table, and the surgeon makes a small incision near where the implant will be placed. Cheek implants are most often placed through incisions in the mouth or lower eyelid. A pocket is made in the facial tissue in which the implant is inserted, and the incision is finally closed with sutures and may be bandaged or taped.
While the initial outcome of plastic surgery with facial implants is noticeable almost immediately, it will be masked by visible swelling. It may take several months for swelling to fully dissipate.
Cheek implants can be made of a variety of materials. The most common material is solid silicone; in addition, two popular options are high-density porous polyethylene, and ePTFE (expanded polytetrafluoroethylene). These are inert substances, which provides better integration with the underlying tissue and bone than solid silicone does.
Scarring is minimal with cheek augmentation surgery, depending on the location of the incisions. If the patient is having the procedure done in combination with other facial cosmetic surgery, the plastic surgeon may leverage the existing incisions for the additional procedures.
What are the Post-Operative Procedures for Cheek Implants?
Bandages or dressings may be applied to keep the surgical site clean and to support the position of the implant during initial healing following the procedure. The patient
Dr. Amjadi MD, DDS, FACS
Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons
915 Gessner Rd #870
Houston, TX 77024
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