Cheek augmentation surgery using implants can help bring balance and harmony to the face and create the appearance of strong cheekbones. This procedure uses solid silicone implants to enhance facial contouring and eliminate the drawn, gaunt look present with weak cheekbones. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there were approximately 12,698 cheek implant procedures performed in 2012. Patients who benefit most from this procedure are young adults with a deficient cheek structure, older individuals with signs of aging and patients who have gone through facial trauma.
During cheek augmentation surgery, an implant is inserted through an incision made in the upper lip. Cheek implants come in many different sizes, shapes and materials. The implant chosen will determine the size of the incision. A pocket is made through the incision directly over the cheekbone and the implant is inserted. The incision is then closed with either absorbable sutures or stitches that will be removed within 1-2 weeks following surgery.
Cheek augmentation surgery is performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure in an accredited surgical facility. The procedure usually takes just under an hour to complete. Following surgery, the outcome is immediately noticeable. There will be swelling, which could last several months. There may also be localized discoloration, numbness or discomfort. Most patients are able to return to work after a full week. However, exercise should be avoided for at least 3-4 weeks.
Cheek implants come in several varieties. The oldest and most widely used implants are solid silicone. Gore-Tex has recently become a popular choice among surgeons for facial implants, due to the low rejection rate.
In the hands of a qualified plastic surgeon, cheek implants are very safe. Quatela.com cites the rejection rate for implantable materials at less than 1%.
Most patients can expect some mild to moderate discomfort after surgery, with some tightness or pulling around the incision and implant sites. These uncomfortable sensations should only last about 3-4 weeks. Numbness along the skin may occur for several months until the implants have settled into their final position and the internal tissues return to normal.
Food with sharp edges should be avoided for about one week following cheek implant surgery due to the incision sites’ location under the upper lip. Some doctors suggest avoiding dairy products for the first week following surgery due to the natural bacteria found in dairy products and the small risk for infection of the incision.