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Cheek Augmentation

One of the first signs of aging in the face is the loss of volume in the front or “apple” of the cheek and cheekbones.  Replacing lost volume in the cheeks has a “lifting” effect on the entire face.   Fat transfer or fat grafting to the face is the most popular method to add volume to the face.  During this in-office procedure, your plastic surgeon harvests some fat cells from an area of the body that has a bit extra (like the hips, thighs, or abdomen) through liposuction.  The fat is carefully treated and then injected into the cheek area.  Once the fat develops its own blood supply, it becomes permanent and will act like fat in any other part of the body, meaning it will respond to changes in weight.  While surgical options like fat grafting or a cheek implant offer a permanent solution, some patients opt to use various types of dermal fillers to non-surgically augment the cheeks.  Dermal fillers offer long-lasting (about two years on average), natural-looking results.

Cheek AugmentationTypical Timing/Age

After the completion of facial growth which is around 15 years old.

Problem

In general, the cheek should sit in front of the eyeball when viewed from the side. Flat or under-projecting cheeks can be due to skeletal (bone) deficiency or soft tissue deficiency. These deficiencies may be present from birth or result from aging or injury. A cheek deficiency may be treated with dermal fillers,  fat grafting, a midface lift and/or by placing implants on top of the facial skeleton to augment it.

 

Procedure

Cheek augmentation using fat transfer involves obtaining fat cells from other areas of the body through liposuction and carefully injecting them into the cheek area.

In the case of bone loss or injury, it may be necessary to use an implant.  The implant(s) may be placed using incisions inside your mouth or through an incision on your lower eyelid a couple of millimeters below your eyelashes. Once in place, the implant is fixed in place with screws.

Goal

To improve facial harmony.

Facility

Office/Clinic if a fat transfer or dermal filler procedure is indicated.   If an implant is needed, it would be done in an outpatient surgery center

Anesthesia

Local anesthesia in the office/clinic or general anesthesia at a surgery center or hospital.

Hospital stay

Patients go home after surgery and do not require a night in the hospital.

Positioning

After a cheek augmentation, you should sleep with your head elevated above your heart for a few days to help reduce the swelling.

Assistance

You will be able to walk around, feed and bathe yourself. Depending on your pain medication requirements, you may not be able to drive or care for others.

Walking After Surgery

You are encouraged to walk around as much as possible to help reduce the risk of DVT and thromboembolism.

Showering

You may shower immediately following surgery.

Exercise

1 week for light exercise. 2 weeks for regular exercise. Avoid any pressure or trauma to the area for 6 weeks.

Sex

Wait 1 week because you don’t want to increase your blood pressure during the early healing period.

Work

You may be bruised for 1-2 weeks. If you have a desk job you can return to work as soon as you are comfortable doing so.

Swelling

Usually greatest around 3 days after surgery from which time it starts to subside. Some patients remain a little swollen for 2 months.

Bruising

Usually subsides by 1 week.

Risks & Complications

Implant malposition, numbness, bleeding, infection, prolonged swelling, implant complications, need for revision, complications related to anesthesia.

Performed by: Dr. Butler, Dr. Leveque, Dr. Patterson

 

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