March 20, 2021
High cheekbones give the face a youthful and attractive look. However, not everyone is naturally blessed with them while others get a sunken look with age. Cheek implants or augmentation is the ideal solution for such people. It may be carried out on its own or with other plastic surgery procedures for facial improvement.
Assessment for Suitability
It is essential to do a careful study of the face contours and to understand patient expectation of the outcome. Cheek implants are positioned either at malar or sub-malar region of the face. Malar implants are advised when the upper cheek need to be highlighted. They are therefore positioned at the cheekbones improving the overall appearance of the face.
Material of implant
The implant is made of different materials with the most common ones being silicone, high density porous polyethylene, poly methyl methacrylate (acrylic) and polyether ether ketone (PEEK).
Each type of material used for implant has its own pros and cons. High density porous polyethylene is an inert substance and gets integrated with the underlying tissues. This ensures that the implant is unlikely to migrate. Further it can be trimmed before insertion to give optimal results. But the biggest drawback is that it cannot be removed if a revision of the face contour is required at a later stage. Silicone is a better option if there are any doubts about the suitability of malar implants. However, silicone inserts are more likely to shift from their position. PEEK is a thermoplastic that is inert with no porosity, decreasing the chances of infection. PEEK implants tend to be expensive but can be custom made and are easier to work with. Poly methyl methacrylate, commonly known as acrylic, is inexpensive but the chances of shifting and infection are greater.
Cheek implantation is ordinarily carried out as an outpatient procedure. Implants are inserted through incisions made inside the mouth. This minimizes the chances of scarring, but more prone to infection due to bacteria present in the mouth. However, if other face augmentation procedures are also being carried out at the same time, incisions can be made inside the lower eyelids. The procedure is more expensive than getting fillers. However, as it is long lasting, it falls much cheaper in the long run.
There may be noticeable swelling and bruising immediately after the procedure giving a puffy look to the face. But this will go down gradually over the months. Icing the area will help reduce the swelling and discomfort. It is advisable to avoid smoking as it delays the healing process. Taking rest is equally important and one should not indulge in strenuous activities for at least a month. Full recovery can take about 4-6 months.
As with any surgical procedure one needs to be in good health for a quick recovery. The most common risks involved are infection and bleeding. There may be scarring in rare cases at the place of incision. Some patients complain of numbness, but gradually gain sensation in the area. Another issue that may rise in atypical cases is uneven contours or asymmetry of the face.