The goal of cheek augmentation is to add volume or lift to the cheeks. Some people are bothered by their cheeks losing volume, or even sagging, with age. Others never develop the desired volume in their cheeks and are bothered by cheeks that may be considered flat or thin.
What is cheek augmentation?
Options for cheek augmentation
Valid surgical options for augmenting and enhancing the cheeks are fat grafting/transfer (where a patient’s own fat is used) or the use of solid cheek implants. A nonsurgical option is the use of injectable fillers to enhance the cheeks, which is covered on the dermal fillers page.
What are the steps of a cheek augmentation procedure?
What You should know / Frequently Ask Questions
Cheek augmentation is a highly individualized procedure. It can be a life-changing procedure for patients who are self-conscious about their cheeks. This procedure should be done for yourself, not for someone else or to conform with any sort of ideal image.
In general, you may be a good cheek augmentation candidate if:
- You are physically healthy and at a stable weight
- You have realistic expectations
- You are a nonsmoker
- You are bothered by the appearance of your cheeks
- You have cheeks that are too flat, thin or saggy
If you’re considering surgery, spend some time reviewing cheek augmentation photos and learning about what to expect during recovery. Preparation ahead of time helps patients have reasonable expectations and a smoother recovery.
The decision to have cheek augmentation is extremely personal. You’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of cheek augmentation are acceptable.
Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedures you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.
The possible risks of cheek augmentation include, but are not limited to:
- Poor healing of incisions
- Anesthesia risks
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Skin loss
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Skin discoloration and/or prolonged swelling
- Unfavorable scarring
- Fatty tissue found deep in the skin might die (fat necrosis)
- Fatty cysts
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Thick scar tissue around cheek implant (capsular contracture)
- Cheek implant displacement
- Blindness (rare complication of fat transfer)
- Suboptimal aesthetic result
- Possibility of revisional surgery
- Persistent pain
- Poor aesthetic result of donor site for fat transfer
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It’s important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
In preparing for cheek augmentation, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Cheek augmentation is typically performed in a hospital, licensed ambulatory surgery center or in-office procedure room, and will use either general anesthesia, intravenous sedation or local anesthesia. If your cheek augmentation is performed using general anesthesia or intravenous sedation, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
Following your cheek augmentation surgery, gauze dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions. An elastic bandage or compression garment may minimize swelling and support the cheeks as they heal following surgery. Alternatively, you may not have any dressings or bandages. If you have cheek implants placed through an incision inside your mouth, you may be placed on a liquid diet and/or given special mouth rinses.
The final results of cheek augmentation surgery may be initially obscured by swelling. If your cheeks are augmented using fat transfer, the results will be based upon how much fat was injected into your cheeks and how much fat your body has retained. This can be determined by many factors, including surgical technique and your own body’s individual metabolism. If solid cheek implants are used, then your final result will be more predictable.
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. Some patients will ‘touch up’ their results using injectable fillers instead of returning to the operating room.
When you go home, if you experience shortness of breath, chest pains or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
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.