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Cheek Implants (Cheek Augmentation)
Cheek implantation, also known as malar augmentation, can provide your face with contour, essentially changing its proportions to look more pleasing.
The procedure usually takes 45 minutes to an hour and a half. It is generally performed alone or in combination with forehead, eyelid, facelift, and nasal or chin surgery. Sometimes, cheek implants are designed for reconstructive or rejuvenation.
Cheek augmentation recovery time will depend on whether the implant procedure was performed alone, or in conjunction with other procedures.
Recovering from cheek implant surgery alone shouldn’t take too long at all. In fact, you should feel better the day of the surgery, although your surgeon will probably advise you to take it easy. You may have mild soreness in the cheek area and some swelling. The cheek area may feel tight due to the increased volume from the implant. If the incision for your surgery was made in the mouth, your upper lip may feel a bit numb, as it does after having anesthetic at the dentist’s office. An alternative to cheek implants is the use of fillers, like Restylane or Juvederm. This is an office procedure with very little discomfort but with the disadvantage of achieving a temporal result (between 8 months and a year) as the fillers are composed of hyaluronuic acid, which is degraded by your body in this time.
Your surgeon will choose the right shape and size to best fit your anatomy and help you achieve your aesthetic goals. The implants may be composed of solid silicone or other biocompatible materials such as polyethylene.
The surgery itself can be performed in one of two ways. Your surgeon may make a small incision where your cheek meets your gums in the back of your mouth, in which case the implants will be placed through the mouth. Or, an incision is made through the lower eyelid if an eyelid procedure is being done at the same time. A pocket is made for the implant over the cheekbone. Your surgeon will secure the implant within the pocket, affixing it to bone or soft tissue.
The final step is to close the incision with sutures.
When the most common implant, silicone rubber, is used, supportive tissue eventually forms around the implant after a few weeks. Once fully healed, the implant feels like your normal underlying bone structure.
Risks and Complications
As with any surgery, there is risk of complications related to infection or reaction to anesthesia. A proper assessment of every patient, along with a complete lab work, help in the prevention of postoperative complications. Scars are imperceptible in the oral approach and almost invisible in the eye lid approach.
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