Cheek implants add body and contour to cheeks that lack definition. Individuals with weak cheek structure, a narrow or flat face, or who have lost cheek contour due to the effects of age can benefit from the aesthetic enhancement that cheek augmentation can provide. The simplicity of cheek surgery and the relatively low cost of cheek implants make them an especially attractive cosmetic solution.
Cheek bone implants have been in use since 1956 and have a proven record for safe and effective cosmetic enhancement. They are constructed from a variety of synthetic materials that range from fairly rigid to flexible. Cheek bone implants come in various shapes and sizes, and most can be custom shaped to a particular facial structure. Some cheek implants, such as those made from silicone, do not integrate with tissue and can be easily removed at a later date. Other cheek bone implants, such as hydroxyapatite implants, integrate with natural bone tissue and become part of the cheek structure.
Best Candidates for Cheek Augmentation
Cheek implants increase the projection of the cheekbones. They add volume to areas which may be recessed or ﬂat.
If symmetry among facial features is part of your goal, facial implants may be recommended to augment more than one facial region. It's important to remember that all of our faces are asymmetric to some degree and your results may not be completely symmetric. The goal is to create balance and proportion. Your procedure may be performed alone, or as a complement to other facial contouring procedures such as nose or ear surgery.
What Cheek Augmentation Can Do
When cheek implants are placed in conjunction with another facial plastic surgery procedure such as a face lift, brow lift, rhinoplasty, or eyelid lift, the implants can be inserted through the incisions made for those procedures.
When not used in conjunction with other plastic surgery treatments, the cheek implants are placed on their own through small incisions made in the mouth or lower eyelids. The implants are placed into small pockets formed by the surgeon in the cheek tissue. Stitches used to close the incision are removed in about 10 days, or they dissolve in the about the same period if placed inside the mouth.
Is Cheek Augmentation Right For Me?
Plastic surgery with facial implants is best performed on people whose head and skull have reached physical maturity, which generally occurs in late adolescence.
This procedure is a good option for you if:
- You are physically healthy
- You do not smoke
- You have a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for improvement of facial contours
Preparing for Cheek Augmentation
At your preoperative appointment our nurse will provide all the instructions for you to follow before and after cheek implant surgery. On the business day prior to the operation we ask you to call to confirm your arrival time for your plastic surgery. Upon arrival for your surgery, you will talk with a nurse (who will start an IV), discuss anesthesia (with local anesthesia and IV sedation you are asleep and comfortable) and meet with your plastic surgeon before going to the operating room.
If you are having a combination of plastic surgery procedures your surgery will take longer. Recovery time from the anesthetic takes about an hour and you will be discharged about four to five hours from the time of admission.
After researching the basics about cheek augmentation, many patients want to know what to expect before breast augmentation surgery.
Prior to surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
- Avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Special instructions you receive will cover:
- What to do on the day of surgery
- The use of anesthesia during your procedure
- Post-operative care and follow-up
Cheek Augmentation Surgery Overview
The specific area to be augmented in the cheek determines where an implant will be positioned on the cheekbone. Cheek implants are most often placed through incisions in the mouth. When performed with other procedures, alternate incisions may be recommended including placement through an incision inside the lower eyelid or one within the hairline.
Upper Cheek Contouring
Prior to the procedure, most medical practitioners will numb the areas in which dermal fillers will be used with topical anesthetic, local anesthetic or nerve block. With an anesthetic, most patients are fairly comfortable during the procedure.
Cheek Hollow Contouring
Incisions are made in inconspicuous areas to minimize visible scarring. You and your plastic surgeon will discuss which incision options are appropriate for your desired outcome.
Incision options include:
- Inframammary incision
- Transaxillary incision
- Periareolar incision
Incisions vary based on the type of implant, degree of enlargement desired, your particular anatomy, and patient-surgeon preference.
Your incisions will be closed with absorbable sutures or stitches that will be removed within 1-2 weeks following your surgery.
Cheek Augmentation Results
While the initial outcome of plastic surgery with facial implants is noticeable almost immediately, it will be obscured by visible swelling. It may take several months for swelling to fully dissipate.
Recovery After Cheek Augmentation
The final results of your facial implant surgery will be long-lasting, however the initial healing phase may include localized swelling, discoloration, numbness or discomfort.
In addition, facial movements may be temporarily restricted or impaired. These are common conditions.
When you wake up from cheek implant surgery you will notice tightness and numbness because of the swelling. You will have dissolvable sutures under the upper lip and little steri-strips tapes on the cheeks. The tapes that help the cheek implants remain in position should remain dry and intact until the following morning. Following your cheek implant, the nurses will ask assist you to meet the discharge criteria: to drink liquids, walk with a steady gait, void, manage your discomfort, and have a responsible adult at home following the procedure. The nurses will review all instructions you will need for care following cheek implant surgery.
When You Return Home
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur after breast augmentation, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
Cheek Augmentation Post Operative Care
Keep dressing tapes dry and intact the evening after surgery until they are removed the next morning. Notify your plastic surgeon if the tapes fall off the evening after cheek augmentation surgery. Rinse your mouth after meals, snacks and at bedtime with dilute peroxide and mouth rinse for one week. You may gently brush your teeth three days after surgery taking care to avoid trauma to the sutures.
Avoid dairy products for five days following your plastic surgery. Dairy products have a bacteria that is not harmful if the integrity of the oral mucosa is intact. To protect the incisions from infection, avoid dairy products for five days. Advance diet from liquids to soft food (oatmeal, French toast, yogurt, soup, and pasta) to your regular diet as tolerated. Avoid food with sharp edges such as tortilla chips for ten days following cheek implants.
Rest for entire day after cheek augmentation surgery. Sleep with head of the bed elevated or use two to three pillows for one week after your plastic surgery. Absolutely no bending, lifting or straining. If you have little children, bend at the knees or sit on the floor and let them climb on to your lap. No driving for one week following cheek implant surgery. One week off work is recommended; two weeks off is ideal.
Always protect your face from sunburn. At this point, a hat and sunglasses are a good idea. Following cheek implant surgery, our staff will tell you when it is ok to apply sunscreen, cosmetics or facial creams. Avoid unprotected prolonged sun exposure for three months following cheek implant to prevent swelling associated with sunburn.
Possible Cheek Augmentation Risks
Though rare in occurrence, cheek implants complications can happen. Initially, there is the risk of an adverse reaction to anesthesia used in the cheek surgery procedure. A correlation exists between anesthesia complications and the use of tobacco, antidepressants, and various other substances. For this reason, disclosure of any substance use to the surgeon prior to surgery is very important.
Post-surgery cheek implants complications may include infection, which is usually treatable with antibiotics. Misplacement of a cheek implant can result in shifting that causes asymmetry, sometimes necessitating a second procedure to realign the implant. If you are considering cheek implants and you’d like to reduce the chance of post-surgical complications, the best course of action is to take care when choosing a plastic surgeon.