Cheek volume and fullness are an important feature of the face that is often overlooked, although it can have a direct impact on perceived age. Sunken or hollowed cheeks may be the result of genetics or age-related volume loss. As we age, our cheek fat begins to sag, making the mid-face appear deflated and flat. A deflated mid-face can make the eyes look tired and the face more square, or "jowly." Cheek augmentation remedies these issues through the immediate and permanent restoration of mid-face volume, either with implants or facial fat transfer.
Cheek augmentation can be accomplished with injectable fillers, facial fat transfer, or implants that are surgically placed from the interior of the cheek, accessed through the mouth. Implants are constructed of silicon, porous polyethylene, or GoreTex®, depending on the needs and goals of each patient. However, regardless of the material, implants are the most permanent (and sometimes natural-looking) of the three options as they will integrate with the underlying bone. That being said, it may be reassuring to know that cheek implants can be removed at any time.
The surgery is performed in our on-site surgical suite under sedation by Dr. Rice, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon with thousands of hours of experience and an impeccable record of happy and satisfied patients.
Recovery time is 1-2 weeks, and results are instantaneous, although it sometimes takes up to 7 months for swelling to disappear completely.
If you have always wished for a model-like cheek structure, would like to add facial definition, or if you noticed the gradual onset of a “flattened” mid-face appearance, you might benefit from cheek augmentation with implants. Many of our female patients undergo this procedure because they seek a more youthful or feminine look, featuring higher cheekbones. On the other hand, many of our male patients choose cheek augmentation to achieve a more masculine, chiseled facial contour.
If you relate to any of these concerns, you are likely a cheek augmentation candidate! You will love your new cheek implants, as they instantly give greater fullness and definition to the face while still maintaining a subtle, natural look. Cheek implants can also take the place of facial fillers as a more permanent means of adding facial volume, saving you time and money in the long run.
During the cheek augmentation surgery we will use local anesthesia with sedation to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the procedure. The implants, which will be custom-fitted and shaped for your facial structure and the appearance that you are seeking, will be inserted through the interior of the cheek, via the mouth. This intricate process will ensure that you have no visible scarring while allowing Dr. Rice to have direct access to properly fitting your implant to your cheekbone.
Following your surgery, you can expect considerable swelling and bruising. This is partly because we will be reforming your facial tissue to accommodate the implant. We will prescribe pain medication for any post-operative discomfort you may feel. Do not be concerned if you have significant swelling, as it will take several months for your swelling to heal completely. With this in mind, it will take a substantial amount of time for your final results to show, as swelling can distort your appearance.
As for physical activities, you may resume them within one to two weeks, including non-strenuous work. We recommend waiting three weeks before resuming light or moderate exercise because your body will need substantial rest to get you through the initial healing stages. Heavy exercise, including weightlifting and contact sports, should be avoided for six weeks.
Due to the physical strain and extended recovery period that this procedure requires, we suggest that you plan the surgery with your calendar in mind. While you can return to work reasonably soon after your procedure, it is important to remember that you will have fairly significant facial swelling for several weeks.
We pride ourselves in prepping our patients on what to expect and how best to recover from surgery with minimal discomfort. Rest assured that we will advise you every step along the way to get you back to normal day-to-day activities as quickly as possible.
All swelling should subside within seven months, allowing you to see your final results. Once the swelling has resolved, your results will be permanent. The implants are designed to last a lifetime, so the material will not wear down over time, and your results will be maintained forever. Should you ever become dissatisfied with your implants, they can also be removed at any time.
Cheek implants will add permanent volume to the face where they are placed, but no procedure can stop the march of time completely. You can minimize sagging skin and other signs of aging by using high-quality, medical-grade skincare and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Cosmetic procedures such as microneedling with radiofrequency energy can also boost collagen production and preserve your skin’s health.
Cheek implants add volume and definition to your face and are a great addition to other facial plastic surgery procedures such as a brow lift, rhinoplasty, facelift, eyelid lift, or chin augmentation.