Some people are born with weak cheek structure; others have lost contour as they have aged. Cheek enhancement is an option for improving your cheeks.
Cheek augmentation can best be achieved with implants, fat grafts, or injectable “fillers”. These materials help add contour to the cheekbones to achieve a younger look. Cheek implants are placed through well-hidden incisions. The procedure can also be done in conjunction with a facelift to enhance aesthetic results.
The passing years are not kind to our cheeks. Much is due to our continuing decline in collagen production, which peaks at age 20 and declines one additional percentage point every year afterward. Since collagen provides the structural latticework under our skin that keeps it firm and wrinkle-free, this decline opens the door for the classic signs of facial aging: smile lines, parentheses lines, marionette lines, and under-eye hollows. It also makes our cheeks flatten and sag downwards. Throw in sun damage and slackening support tissues and what were plump, firm cheeks can become flat and sunken.
If this sounds like your situation, cheek augmentation with Dr. Steinbacher can be a great option. This procedure can also add definition to cheeks that have always lacked definition.
Another option for cheek enhancement is fat grafting or fat transfer. In this procedure fat taken from areas in your body such as the thighs or buttocks is injected back into your cheeks to give them a fuller, plumper effect. Liposuction, to harvest the fat, is performed prior to the cheek enhancement.
Dermal fillers and injectables can also be used to restore lost volume in the cheeks and to give the area a more defined look. Each has its own longevity and works best for certain conditions.
Dr. Steinbacher will help you determine which injectable is right for you.
Dr. Steinbacher performs cheek augmentation at our Guilford, CT office with surgical implants, fat transfer, or injection of dermal fillers. Each option has pluses and minuses.
Cheek implants obviously have the longest duration and most certain results. Implants come in different shapes to match what patients seek to change or augment in their cheeks. Submalar implants are typically placed to fill the hollow just beneath the cheekbone.
This provides very predictable results, but many patients aren’t interested in placing an artificial object under their skin for the duration.
Fat transfer has the advantage of using the patient’s own fat that is taken from an area where it is not wanted, such as the abdomen, purified, and injected into the cheeks. Because it is the patient’s own fat, there isn’t any risk of a reaction to the transferred fat. Also, fat transfer for augmentation has the added secondary benefit of contouring the area where the fat is harvested.
The problem with fat transfer is the percentage of fat cells that will actually “take.” This means they will acquire a blood supply and take up permanent residence. Dr. Price usually injects from 10-15 ccs of fat into each cheek. Some of this fat will be absorbed by the body and won’t take, so it’s standard to augment a little more than is desired to account for the loss of 20 percent of the fat.
Dermal fillers provide instant results, and when injected by a board-certified plastic surgeon such as Dr. Steinbacher those results are very predictable. Dr. Steinbacher typically uses Juvéderm Voluma for cheek augmentation. This hyaluronic acid filler was designed specifically for cheek augmentation.
Voluma and other hyaluronic acid fillers have the benefit of being reversible. If you don’t like the look of the augmentation, Dr. Steinbacher can instantly reverse and neutralize the effects by the injection of an enzyme called hyaluronidase.
The problem with cheek augmentation with fillers is duration. Whereas implants and fat transfer provide permanent and long-term results, respectively, Voluma plumps the cheeks for up to two years. At that point, the body will absorb the hyaluronic acid and another injection session is necessary to maintain your results.
So, now it’s up to you to decide which method of cheek augmentation suits you. Of course, during your consultation, Dr. Steinbacher will discuss all of this with you.
You will be given specific instructions on how to prepare for your upcoming procedure. You may be required to avoid tobacco products, antidepressants, and certain medications for a period of time before the surgery as they can interfere with your body’s blood clotting ability. During your first visit, possible complications and risks regarding the procedure will also be fully explained to you.
After cheek enhancement, you may expect visible bruising and swelling. This lasts a few days with most injectables but can be visible for two weeks after implants or fat transfer. While injectables result in mild soreness, implant surgery can require pain medication for several days.
If you augment your cheeks with implants, these are permanent changes.
If you use fat transfer, some of the fat will eventually be absorbed by the body. This percentage varies widely, anywhere from 20 to 50 percent. So, you could need an additional session to fill in some areas of loss. Otherwise, the fat that successfully takes can last the rest of your life.
If you use dermal fillers, you can expect results for up to two years. At that point, another injection session will be necessary to maintain your results.
As with the results, your return to normal life varies by the method. With dermal filler augmentation administered at our Guilford, CT office, there isn’t any recovery; you can go right back to work or your normal activities.
With fat transfer, you can expect bruising and swelling for 5-10 days. Most patients can return to work in two days and get back to full normal activities within a week.
With implants, you’ll need a few days off work, and you’ll need to limit activities that raise blood pressure to your face for a couple of weeks. But recovery isn’t overly hard, and most patients can get back to normal life in 7-10 days.
Dr. Steinbacher usually makes incisions to place implants for cheek augmentation in the mouth. They can also be made through an incision inside the lower eyelid, depending on placement and the patient.
There is little to no risk with dermal filler augmentation. Patients have some slight redness and swelling at the injection sites, but that’s about it.
Fat transfer is also a low risk. Because there are two incision sites (harvest site and cheeks) there is an elevated risk of injection, but this is rare. As mentioned above, although not a true “risk,” some of the fat will not take, so the patient isn’t sure of exactly what his or her augmentation will look like in the end.
Surgically placing implants is a simple procedure. It is surgery, so there are risks of reaction to anesthesia, infection, excessive bleeding, and the like. These are rare with the simplicity of the procedure. The main risk with implants is that the implants may shift, creating asymmetry. Dr. Steinbacher’s extensive experience and board certification make this possibility exceedingly low.
Dr. Derek Steinbacher has devoted his life to aesthetic and life-changing surgery. He is an artistic and meticulous surgeon who draws patients from around the world due to his perspective, unmatched skill, and exceptional results. He is able to uniquely address the face (facelift + rejuvenation), jawline (orthognathic; chin; contouring; implants), nasal (rhinoplasty), eyelids, profile, neck, breast, and body with one-of-a-kind results.
He is a multiple Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained Plastic, Cosmetic, and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgeon. He is Fellow of the most prestigious surgical organizations, including the Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery, Societies of Craniofacial and Maxillofacial Surgery, the Aesthetic Society, and the Rhinoplasty Society. He has served as Full-Professor of Plastic Surgery at Yale, including Director of the Cleft and Craniofacial Program, and Chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Dr. Steinbacher has unparalleled training at premier institutions, including Harvard and Johns Hopkins. His perspective brings together the best aspects of many distinct – but related fields – and it is this intersection of scope and expertise, in addition to an artistic eye, which enables excellent comprehensive results.
Dr. Steinbacher's approach: technical acumen, meticulousness, and penchant for combining art and science, together with his eye for balance, beauty, and harmony, helps achieve outcomes that greatly improve a person's confidence, health, and overall quality of life. Patients can trust that they are always in good hands!