What are Cheek Implants?

Malcolm Tatum

Cheek implants are small contained packets that are inserted into the cheek to produce a more prominent appearance. This process of enhancing and contouring the cheeks is known as malar augmentation. As one of the simpler forms of cosmetic surgery, the insertion of cheek implants involves relatively little time or expense, and has the benefit of a short recovery time.

A woman preparing to get cheek implants.
A woman preparing to get cheek implants.

There are a couple of reasons that an individual may choose to undergo cheek augmentation. One reason is to achieve a more balanced appearance to the face. This is often the case when the cheekbones are considered sunken or out or proportion with the eyes and nose.

A second reason for cheekbone implants is a need for facial reconstruction after an accident. With this application, cheek implants can help to repair damage done to the contour and fullness of the cheeks and the underlying cheekbones. In this scenario, the cheek implants are not so much an elective surgery as an attempt to provide the patient with a facial appearance that is as close to normal as possible.

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Depending on the size, shape, and placement of the cheek implant, the insertion process may be accomplished in one of three ways. A common approach is to create an incision along the cheek within the mouth. This makes it possible to prevent any scarring on the exterior of the face. In most cases, the length of the incision is minimal and does not require much in the way of stitches or recovery time.

An alternative method of inserting cheek implants involves making an incision through the lower eyelid. This approach is especially effective when the goal is to enhance the appearance of the cheeks just below the eyes. While this approach does carry a greater risk for scarring, the scar is often covered by the eyelashes and is barely detectable.

Cheek implants may also be inserted during a brow lift. While readjusted the skin to remove creases in the skin covering the brow area, the implants can be moved into position and checked for placement before closing the incision. The end result of this dual procedure is cheeks that look full and a brow that is free of wrinkles.

As with any type of surgery, there are some risks associated with cheek bone implant procedures. Infection is always a possibility. The patient may prove to be allergic to the cheek implants, necessitating a second procedure to remove them. There is also some risk of the cheek implants shifting at some future point, although modern methods make this type of complication much less likely than in decades past.

The surgeon generally evaluates the overall health of the candidate before agreeing to insert the cheek implants. There is discussion of which method of insertion will be used and the size and shape of the implants that would be most appropriate. Information about what to expect during the recovery period as well as a list of recuperation instructions are also presented to the candidate before the procedure is scheduled and performed.

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