There are several ways to augment the cheek to make the cheekbones appear more prominent. The two basic types of cheek augmentation are cheek implants and injectable fillers.
Cheek Implants: A cheek implant is a solid insert that is placed on top of the cheekbone or attached to it. The implants are made of various substances and in many shapes and sizes to fit different faces. They can even be custom shaped. One benefit of using a solid implant is that it can be removed if there are any problems.
One widely used type of implant in cosmetic cheek augmentation surgery is made of solid silicone. Silicone is a durable and flexible substance that is widely used in medicine and is regarded as safe for use in the body. Unlike silicone breast implants, which are sacks filled with saline or silicone gel, a silicone cheek implant is solid and cannot rupture or leak.
Other materials that are widely used as solid implants for cheek augmentation include polyethylene, expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), and acellular dermal matrix made from donated human skin tissue. One brand of ePTFE implant is Gore-Tex and the brand name for acellular dermal matrix is Alloderm.
Most surgeons choose to make the incision for cheek implants inside the mouth, so that there are no visible scars. However, if other cosmetic procedures are being done on the face, such as a face lift, your surgeon may use the incisions for those procedures instead. In either case, your surgeon will create a pocketusually over your cheekbones, but sometimes in a slightly different location depending on the shape of your faceand insert the implant. In some cases, the implant will be attached to the bones of your face using screws or sutures.
Insertion of cheek implants can be done in a doctors office or in a freestanding surgical center. You can go home the same day as your surgery, but may need someone to drive you home.
One advantage of solid implants is that they can usually be removed if there is a problem. However, some types are porous, which means that tissue grows into the implant, making removal difficult. As with all surgery, you have the risk of infection, bruising, and bleeding.
Injectable fillers: Your cheeks can also be built up with injectable fillers. One type of injectable filler is fat taken from somewhere else on the body, which is called fat grafting or autologous fat transfer. This tissue cannot be rejected because it is your own tissue, however it can be reabsorbed, which means that the results may not be permanent. The fat is harvested using a syringe or during a liposuction procedure. The fat is then specially treated to concentrate the fat cells before it is injected.
Other injectable fillers used in cheek augmentation include collagen, hydroxylapatite, hyaluronic acid, and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Collagen and hyaluronic acid are considered temporary fillers because the body eventually absorbs them and you have to have more injections if you want lasting results. Hydroxylapatite is longer lasting, but also is usually absorbed eventually. PMMA injections are considered permanent.
The disadvantage of semipermanent or permanent injectable fillers is that they may not be easily removed if there is a problem or if you do not like the results. There is the possibility that they will migrate out of place or form lumps.
Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute
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Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute
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George Washington University Hospital
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