Cheek augmentation can be either a surgical or nonsurgical procedure that reshapes the cheekbones through the placement of a gel like liquid or implant into the cheeks. Both women and men are suitable candidates for this procedure.

Fast Facts

  • Often people who have flat cheekbones or a round or thin face opt for cheek augmentation.
  • Cheek augmentation adds definition and balance to the face.
  • There are many different materials you can choose to fill your cheeks, ranging from semi-liquid to solid.

Reasons for choosing to have cheek augmentation

Prominent cheekbones have become a trademark of beauty and youth in our culture. Often people who have flat cheekbones or a round or thin face opt for cheek augmentation. Those that have lost weight or aged, and as a result have hollow or sagging cheeks, may also want to fill in this area.

Essentially, cheek augmentation adds definition and balance to the face and in so doing provides a more youthful appearance.

Things to consider once you’ve decided to have cheek augmentation

Cheek augmentation is often performed in conjunction with other surgical procedures for the face such as chin augmentation and eye, brow or a facelift. If you are considering facial surgery and the recovery time that goes with it, it is worth considering a combination of procedures to reshape your face.

None of these procedures will stop the ageing process altogether. It is important to understand that your cheeks may sag over time and you may have to repeat this procedure.

There are many different materials you can choose to fill your cheeks with, ranging from semi-liquid to solid.

Dermal fillers and stimulants look like thick gel and are injected under the skin with a syringe. There are many different brands of dermal fillers on the market in Australia. Some remain under the skin permanently and others are temporary, lasting between 6 months and 2 years. Which filler is the best for you is something to discuss with your doctor, who is familiar with each brand and knows what has worked with past patients.

Fat transfer (or fat grafting) is a procedure where your own fat is injected into your cheeks after being taken from somewhere on the body where there is surplus fat (i.e. the thighs or buttocks). The body can sometimes reabsorb fat, and it is therefore impossible to know how long your cheeks will remain full.

Cheek implants are solid and usually made from silicone. This material is very durable and made to last a lifetime. Silicone implants come in a range of sizes, shapes and softness and can often be altered even further to fit your needs.

What to expect

Whether you choose to have dermal fillers, your own fat injected into your cheeks or a solid implant surgically placed into the cheek area will determine the length of time this procedure takes. Non-surgical treatments usually take about half an hour to an hour. The surgical placement of implants can take up to two hours. Surgery is performed in a hospital or approved clinic under anaesthesia. Injectables can be done in a clinic after taking some light pain medication.

Should you elect to have implants surgically placed into your cheek area, incisions are made either at the hairline, below the lower eyelids or in the mouth on the upper lip crease. The implant is then sewn into place with small sutures that dissolve over time.

Before and after surgery

There are a number of things you can do leading up to any kind of surgery to improve the experience. There are also a number of things you can do following any surgery.

Specific things to do after your cheek surgery:

  • If you have an incision inside your mouth, you will need to keep your mouth clean. The surgeon may ask you to do a salt rinse several times a day. You will need to keep your face still for at least a week following the surgery. After this first week you can gradually and gently begin to move your face.
  • Swelling and bruising are common after facial surgery, but they should start to disappear after about a week. Itching is also common as nerve endings are inevitably cut. The itching will diminish as the nerves regenerate.
  • Be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions on scar healing treatments. Scars from surgical cheek implants are hidden either in the mouth, hairline or below the eye, but they still need to be treated carefully. You will come to notice some tightness in your face. This will subside after about one to two weeks.
  • You should expect to return to work and most normal activities about a week after your cheek augmentation implant procedure. More strenuous activity, such as exercise, can be added 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery.
  • Non-surgical cheek augmentation with dermal fillers or a fat transfer sees you back to work immediately. You may need to hide small bruises with makeup.

Possible risks and complications

Surgical augmentation

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved in cheek augmentation, and you should be fully aware of all of them before you elect to have the surgery. It is always best to err on the side of caution when surgically changing your face.

The best way to reduce risk is to find a fully qualified surgeon with formal training in cheek augmentation who has performed a lot of cheek surgery.

Cheek implants sometimes shift. A second operation would be needed to correct the placement.

Make sure you familiarise yourself with the list of complications that could arise as a result of any surgery.

Non-surgical augmentation

The risks of having either dermal fillers or your own fat injected under the skin are different to the risks of surgery, but must also be considered. It is important that you find a doctor who is a specialist in the field of injectables and has performed the treatmentmany times before.

Although the occurrence is rare, it’s possible to have an allergic reaction to the filler. If that happens, the treatment cannot be reversed until the effects have worn off. If you have a history of allergies, let your doctor know.

Lumps and bumps can appear on the surface if the particles of the filler pool together.

An unfavourable or ‘over done’ look can occur if too much filler or fat is injected into one area. This will subside if the filler is temporary.

Rough costs involved

Surgical augmentation

Both your surgeon, anaesthetist and hospital costs will vary together with your choice of implant. A rough estimate is somewhere between $6000 and $8000 (AUD). Some private health insurers in Australia may help with hospital bed and theatre fees. Having a doctor’s referral will enable you to claim some of this cost.

Non-surgical augmentation

The cost of dermal fillers varies from brand to brand and depends largely on how long they last. The size of the area being treated will also affect the cost, which can range from $1000 up to $3000 AUD.

You should expect the costs to be higher if you are having combined procedures at the same time.

This information is correct as of 2019.

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