Cheek Implant Surgery - Cosmetic Surgery Guide

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Cheek implant surgery, also known as cheek augmentation, is an increasingly popular procedure used to bring symmetry to the face. Cheeks can be deficient for a number of reasons such as, facial trauma, age-related bone resorption or due to a congenital deficiency. Having weak cheeks can make your lower face seem fleshly and your upper face seem gaunt. By using cheek augmentation you can adjust the proportion of your cheeks to be in line with the rest of your face.

The procedure

Cheek implant surgery is usually performed under a general anaesthetic, meaning you will be unconscious throughout. You may also require an overnight stay in hospital, however, in some cases you will be able to return home on the same day. The surgery takes about an hour and a half to perform and what's involved will depend upon your anatomy, the method of insertion, the positioning and any personal preferences.

First of all your surgeon will start by making small incisions, these will be either below the lower eyelid or at the top of the upper lip. The implants used are typically made from solid or semi-solid materials in order to mimic human tissue and there is a wide variety available. Your surgeon should take you through which materials will be used and why. The implants are inserted through the incisions and then positioned either directly on top or below the cheek bone. The implants may need to be moved several times throughout the procedure and will finally be secured using either screws or sutures, which will be permanent or dissolvable.

Aftercare and Recovery

Immediately following surgery it's typical to feel tired and experience slight pain. If this becomes intolerable then you will usually be prescribed medication to help. It's normal to experience some swelling and bruising but this should quickly subside and any scars should be completely hidden within the mouth. You will have difficulty chewing for a few days after surgery and will need to follow a soft diet, with plenty of liquids. It's recommended you avoid strenuous activity for a couple of weeks afterwards, particularly anything which will cause pressure or rough contact with the cheek. Although it's usually not required that you wear a support garment you may find loose-fitting clothes that don't need to be pulled over the face helpful. Patients can usually return to work after a week and there should be a full recovery in around two weeks.

The Risks

As with all surgical procedures, cheek implant surgery is not without risks. Although rare, the shifting of implants can occur, meaning another procedure will be needed to correct this. Your immune system can classify the implant as a foreign object and reject it. This means that you will have to undergo more surgery in order to remove the implants. Another rare complication is a tightening of scar tissue around your implant, known as capsular contracture. This can also require more surgery to correct. Although some patients experience a loss of sensation in their cheeks this usually returns to normal quickly, however in some cases this can last longer and even become permanent. Infections can develop following surgery, and in rare cases the implants have to be hurriedly removed. It's usual to be prescribed antibiotics to help prevent against this. Fluid can accumulate under the skin causing a blood clot or haematoma, and this will also require further surgery to fix. Although scarring is usually minimal, in some rare cases more aggressive scarring occurs. Fortunately, this is highly treatable through use of steroid injections and creams.