Cheek implants, also sometimes called cheek augmentation, are inserted to enhance cheekbones or to make the cheeks fuller. Like other types of plastic surgery procedures, cheek augmentation can make your face appear more youthful or balance your facial features, making you feel more attractive.
Cheekbone implants have been in use since 1956 and have a proven safety record. The cosmetic surgeons at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, Maryland, can do the surgery separately or at the same time as other facial plastic surgery procedures, such as rhinoplasty (nose job), facelift, brow lift, or eye lift.
There are three general shapes to cheek implants:
- Malar – These implants are placed directly on the cheekbones, providing higher projection.
- Submalar – These implants provide fuller cheeks, rounding out a gaunt, or sunken, appearance.
- Combined – A combined implant augments both the cheekbones and the cheeks.
Some implants, such as those made from silicone, can be removed later. Others integrate with natural bone tissue and become part of the cheek structure.
What to expect during cheek implant surgery
Scarring is minimal with cheek augmentation because the incisions are made inside the mouth or the lower eyelid. If you are having the procedure done along with a face lift, rhinoplasty, brow lift, or eye lift, your plastic surgeon may use the same incisions for the procedures.
You may also opt for an injectable filler using your own fat or a soft tissue filler.
The surgery is an outpatient procedure. You will be given local anesthesia and sedation to ensure your comfort. Learn more about cheek implant surgery in our Health Library.
Recovery from cheek implant surgery
After the surgery, there will be some swelling and mild bruising. It’s likely that your plastic surgeon will provide you pain medication for a couple of days after the surgery. You will also probably need to limit some activities for a few weeks. You can usually return to work and other normal activities within a week.