As we age, most of us experience some degree of deflation in the mid face area. Because strong, high, and rounded cheekbones are the hallmark of a youthful face, we frequently consult with people about how to correct volume loss. The easy answer is that dermal filler product can be injected into the cheeks to bring more contour into the area. The more in-depth answer is not quite so simple.
There is no denying that cheek augmentation can have a profoundly rejuvenating effect on the face. The question is, how should you go about it? In our Denver office, patients may consider the pros and cons of cheek implants, fat injections, and dermal fillers.
What are Cheek Implants?
Cheek implants are small prosthetics that are made out of biocompatible materials such as solid silicone, expanded polytetrafluoroethy (Gore-Tex), or high-density polyethylene (Medpor). The most commonly used implants are the solid silicone type. These prosthetics differ from breast implants in density. While breast implants are more fluid (even the form-stable types), facial implants are firmer and more robust, which means they will not leak.
There are two types of cheek implant, malar, and submalar.
- Malar implants are inserted over the cheekbone to increase volume and projection toward the side of the face.
- Submalar cheek implants are inserted in a proper position in the mid-face to increase the roundness of the cheek.
- The combination cheek implant augments both the higher, outer cheekbone and the mid-face.
The number of cheek implant procedures performed has decreased over the years as injectable solutions have become available. Perhaps the strongest contender as an alternative to the silicone implant is fat grafting.
Injections for Contoured Cheeks
Dermal fillers and fat transfer injections work similarly to augment the cheek area. Each introduces a biological agent to increase the roundness and projection of the cheeks. However, dermal fillers are a temporary solution whereas fat transfer can last indefinitely. The detail to remember about fat transfer is that the effects of treatment eventually succumb to the natural aging process. Repeat treatment or rejuvenation with dermal fillers can be safely performed after initial fat transfer.
Fat transfer harvests a small amount of fat from an area such as the thighs or abdomen. Fat cells are then injected into the cheeks in just the right position to enhance contours without altering the natural appearance of the face. Some fat will get absorbed after injections, but the majority of injected cells integrates into existing tissue for long-lasting results.