What are cheek implants?

In the past, cosmetic surgeons concentrated on making patients look tighter, not necessarily younger. Contemporary cosmetic surgeons appreciate the importance of volume in facial aging and rejuvenation. Today’s surgeons utilize many options including injectable fillers, fat transfer, lifting procedures and mid-face (cheek) implants to restore volume.

CEREC® CAD/CAM Technology

Cheek implants have numerous advantages over other methods of restoring mid-face volume. Fillers and fat will dissolve over time. Fat and permanent fillers will droop over time, worsening the problem and cheek or mid-face lifting procedures will sag over time.

Cheek implants are fixed to the cheek bones with tiny micro screws, so they will always remain in place and not droop. This makes them the only three dimensional method of cheek rejuvenation that is permanent and won’t move. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that if the patient does not like them, they can be removed in 5 minutes! There are not many options that are both permanent and reversible. When considering the available options for midface rejuvenation (fillers, fat, lifting procedures and implants) nothing rivals the versatility of silicone cheek implants. One thing that has never ceased to amaze me is how many surgeons will perform cosmetic facial rejuvenation on the upper face and lower face and completely ignore the midface. A volumized midface is the hallmark of youthfulness and contemporary cosmetic facial surgeons realize this fact and address this important area.

Types of Facial Implants

The most common facial implants are used for chin and cheekbone enhancement. These implants are available in various materials but the vast majority of successful and FDA approved implants are made of surgical silicone. They feel natural and the infection or rejection rate is extremely low and silicone surgical implant material has been used for many surgical applications for decades. Many types of facial implants exist for correction of cosmetic or reconstructive problems. These implants are anatomical which means that they are specifically designed to augment specific areas. Some implants augment the actual cheekbone area while others augment the area of the cheek under the eye. Many styles of cheek implants are available but the most common used are the following. The submalar implant is designed to provide maximal augmentation on the sunken part of the cheek under the eye and to the side of the nose. This implant does little for cheek bone augmentation. The malar shell (malar means cheek) implant is designed to augment the actual cheekbone area for patients that desire more fullness in this area. The combined submalar implant augments the entire midface and is a combination of the submalar implant and the malar shell implant.

Submalar Implants

One of the simplest procedures for rejuvenating the midface is submalar implants. The submalar region is the area that is just below the lower rim of the eye and the cheek as shown in the following picture. The fat in this area begins to descend in the fourth decade and gives the face a drawn and hollow appearance. Although many patients think that “cheek bone implants” are what they need, this could actually make the situation worse. What is important is to fill up the void in the midface and not necessarily on the cheeks. This is the ideal indication for submalar implants. The implants are placed through tiny incisions inside the mouth just above the gum.

Facial Proportion

Facial proportion is one of the key components of beauty. Look at the picture below. This was from a study done in Germany. A picture of a female was altered 25% in terms of proportions in each box. That means that the size, shape and spacing of the features changed. The images were then shown to 1,000 college students and they were asked to pick the most attractive picture. 100% of the people chose number 5 or 6. This shows the power of proper proportion to the overall perception of beauty.

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