Ten Common Questions about Cheek Augmentation

Facial implants, typically for the chin and cheeks, accounted for more than 6,000 of the procedures performed in 2012 by members of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Cheek augmentation accounted for four percent of the facial cosmetic surgeries in 2012. While it isn’t one of the most requested facial plastic surgeries, it is one that men and women ask about. Here are ten of the most common questions regarding cheek augmentation.

What is the Best Option for Filling out the Cheeks?

One of the best ways to fill out the cheeks is through the use of implants. You can use fillers, but they diminish over time as the body absorbs the filler, so you have to go in for repeat injections from time to time. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons lists the average cost of a hyaluronic acid filler as $538. With touch-ups being required anywhere from one month to one year, you could spend thousands on fillers in just a couple of years. Cheek implants are a permanent option.

How Does Removing Buccal Fat Help a Round Face?

For people with a round face, they want to remove volume rather than add it. Removing the buccal fat helps lessen the roundness of the cheeks. For people bothered by a “baby face” or “chipmunk cheeks”, this can be the ideal solution. As you age, however, loss of fat in the buccal area could lead to a sunken cheek appearance. If this happens, you may need fillers or fat injections to help boost the volume.

Is There a Way to See What I’ll Look Like Before I Agree to Surgery?

When scheduling an appointment with a facial plastic surgeon, ask if that surgeon uses digital imaging software. This is a good way to get an idea of what a cheek augmentation can do for you. Otherwise, you could have your surgeon inject saline into the areas where you want more volume to see how well you like fuller cheeks.

How Long Will a Cheek Augmentation Surgery Take?

Cheek implants do not take a lot of time to insert. Generally, you can expect the surgery to take an hour or less to complete.

What Happens During the Surgery?

Incisions for cheek implants are made in one of three places. Most facial plastic surgeons make the incisions on the inside of the mouth. While bacteria in the mouth can increase the risk of infection, scars will not be apparent. Other incision areas include the lower eyelid and the hairline, but these are usually recommended only if other surgeries are being performed at the same time. Once the incision is made, a pocket is created for the implant and the implant is inserted.

What Are the Risks?

Risks are certainly lower when you carefully choose a surgeon in facial plastic surgery. The potential risks associated with cheek augmentation include reaction to the anesthesia, damage to surrounding blood vessels and nerves, bleeding, allergic reactions to surgical tape and glues, and swelling. In rare cases, your implant may shift and require a second surgery.

How Long Do I Need to Take Off From Work?

People heal at different speeds, so it’s impossible to know in advance how long the healing process will take. Generally, any stitches are removed within about one week after surgery. Once the stitches are out, you should be ready to return to work. Swelling should improve within the first week, but it can take months for all swelling to go away.

Am I Going to Have Scars?

Most incisions for cheek implants are made within the mouth, so if there are scars, they are not going to be easily visible. For incisions made in the hairline or the lower eyelids, there may be tiny scars, but they will not be easy for people to see unless you let them look closely.

What Should I Expect During the Recovery?

During the first day or two, you may be a little sore, but pain medications ease any discomfort. There may be a sensation of tightness, but as swelling diminishes, that will ease. Swelling generally takes a week to lessen. Bruising is also an issue some face, but again it resolves quickly.

What Does Cheek Augmentation Cost?

Actual prices depend on your decisions regarding the cheek augmentation. Fillers are less expensive than implants, but fillers need to be repeated frequently as the body absorbs the filler. For cheek augmentation with implants, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) listed the average surgeon / physician fee for cheek augmentation in 2012 as $2,720. It’s important to note that this is a surgeon fee only and does not include additional expenses such as anesthesia and facility fees.

Take a look at Dr. Kabaker’s cheek implant photos to see the difference cheek implants can make. Dr. Sheldon Kabaker, a board certified facial plastic surgeon in California, has decades of experience in facial implants and cheek augmentations. When you’re ready to discuss a cheek augmentation in his Oakland office, call (415) 379-9015 or 1-800-400-7700.

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