Cheek Implant Surgery
The cheeks are an integral part of facial aesthetic. As one of the most sensitive and elastic areas of the face, thinning cheeks due to age or illness result in droopy skin due to loss of volume and suppleness. With the advent of cheek augmentation, it is possible to restore the fullness and contours reflective for a more youthful appearance.
What is cheek implant surgery for?
A clean, smooth, and strong facial curvature is often regarded as a sign of beauty and youth. Though unavoidable, older age results in a loss of facial fat and degeneration of collagen tissue, which can rapidly lead to undesirable aesthetic consequences. Two specific change areas caused directly by reduced cheek tissue are the smile lines and jowls. Dr. Sam Rizk is a facial plastic surgeon in NYC who approaches cheek augmentation procedures in two ways: altering the bony structure to allow for better definition, and supplementing the soft tissue of the cheek for better tone and texture. Cheek implant surgery can also take care of facial asymmetry due to trauma or a number of disorders.
What does Dr. Sam Rizk use for cheek augmentation?
Structural changes to the facial anatomy are achieved through the use of synthetic implants. These FDA-approved materials are non-absorbable by the body, and can provide more rigid definition where needed. Soft tissue augmentation is performed by autologous fat transfer. This process involves a removal and relocation of fat tissue from one part of the body (usually the abdomen or thighs) to the cheeks. This procedure is safe, incurs minimal risk of infection, and uses only fat tissue produced by your own body. While some volume of the transferred fat may be re-absorbed by the body, the results are often more comfortable and more natural-looking.
What is the process?
Autologous fat transfer begins by removing fat cells from the abdomen or thighs using small syringes. This procedure is used instead of liposuction due to the fact that the fat cells must maintain their integrity to be properly re-purposed. The fat tissue is decontaminated and treated in a filtration process that takes approximately fifteen minutes, and is then reloaded into a syringe and injected into the cheeks. The process of fat transfer does not require any incisions and carries minimal risk of infection.
Cheek implants is a more invasive procedure that requires one or more incisions to properly insert and secure the implants to the facial bones. These incisions are usually made around obscured or hard-to-notice areas, such as inside the upper lip or below the eyelids to hide surgical marks and possible scarring. Every implant is customized for the patient, and is stitched into the bone for strength and support. Implants can be placed at the cheekbone, below the cheekbone, or in some combination of both.
How long is the procedure and is anesthesia used?
Both methods of cheek enhancement are out-patient procedures performed in certified operating rooms, which means patients can return home the same day. Treatment lasts generally between one to two hours. Sedation or general anesthesia is used for both procedures, so patients will be under maximal comfort for the duration of the operation.
What can I expect post-surgery?
Minor swelling and discomfort are expected and can be treated with cold compresses. It is recommended that you eat softer foods for the first few days after treatment to allow for proper healing and adjustment. Sutures will naturally dissolve within a couple of weeks, so there is no need to return to have them removed. Consult with Dr. Rizk before you take any medications, as some pain-killers can encourage bruising and additional inflammation.
How is cheek augmentation candidacy determined?
Dr. Sam Rizk is a double-board certified plastic surgeon with a trained eye for facial aesthetics. He will measure your facial features and determine whether you would benefit from a cheek enhancement procedure - medical clearance is required before undergoing either treatment. Patients that are heavy smokers or diabetics are often at higher risk of infection, so invasive cheek enhancement surgery is not recommended.
Can it be combined with other cosmetic procedures?
Autologous fat transfer to the cheeks is often combined with several "lift" surgeries that seek to rejuvenate multiple areas of the face simultaneously. A fuller cheek is usually associated with vibrancy and youthfulness, and thus is a popular addition to facelift, browlift, and necklift surgeries.
What are the associated risks?
Cheek implants carry the risk of infection, implant movement, or adverse reaction to the synthetic compound. If you develop tenderness in the operated area and/or develop a fever, contact Dr. Rizk immediately. If cheek implants are improperly bonded to the bone, there is a chance that it may move, altering the cheek structure and creating asymmetry in the face. This implant may have to be repositioned or completely removed.
Autologous fat transfer carries minimal risks, as no synthetic substances are used and only fine needles are allowed to enter the skin. However, re-absorption of fat in the cheek cannot be predicted, and this procedure may require additional touch-ups. Be sure to mention any medications you may be taking to Dr. Rizk during your consultation.