Updated August 6, 2019

Cheek Augmentation

Cheek Implants – Fort Worth, Texas

Prominent cheeks are considered cosmetically pleasing, but in some people the cheekbone is indistinct, resulting in a flattened appearance of the face. Cheek augmentation is performed to emphasize the cheekbones. Flattened faces can be seen in some ethnic groups, with congenital differences, and after injuries to the face.  It is also evident in many normally developed people. Improving the prominence of the cheekbones in the older age group has the result of tightening the facial skin and soft tissues as well.

What type of implant will I have?

Surgical enhancement of the cheeks can be performed through an augmentation procedure using implants. There are several types of implants available and the choice depends on your specific anatomy. The main type of implant used is called Medpor (porous polyethylene), but silicone, Gortex and hydroxyapatite (coral) can also be used. Dr. Kirby prefers Medpor because it is stable and has predictable results.

What kind of anesthesia will I have?

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia for optimal comfort. This means you will be asleep for the entire procedure. Typically, the procedure is performed as outpatient surgery, but depending on your specific combination of procedures planned, you may need to stay overnight.

Where will my incisions be?

The procedure is usually performed through an incision in the mouth, placed just above the gum line. A pocket is created above the bony surface of the cheek to insert the implant.  The implant is positioned and stabilized using a screw that provides stability to the implant during the healing phase. The screw is left in place permanently. The size of the implant and the amount of augmentation is decided ahead of time during consultation with Dr. Kirby. This will help to provide a natural balance and proportion to your face.

How long is the surgery?

This procedure usually takes one hour but will depend on your specific combination of procedures planned. Cheek augmentation surgery is usually performed as an outpatient. You will be able to return home on the same day, several hours after your procedure .

What are the risks?

Incisions are located inside the mouth and should heal without problems. These incisions should not be visible. The scars are rarely problematic. Nevertheless, you should be aware that all scars are permanent and their height, width and final color are unpredictable. As with any surgical procedure, small sensory nerves to the skin surface may be cut when the incision is made or when skin is undermined.  Portions of your face will feel numb or have less than full feeling. The sensibility in these areas gradually returns, usually within 2 to 3 months as the nerve endings spontaneously heal. During the healing process the skin of the face may become hypersensitive for a period of time. Some diminished sensibility may last indefinitely. Bleeding is unusual, but can occur after cheek augmentation. It occurs in about 1 to 2% of patients and is more common in men. Occasionally a minor deformity may persist following surgery. No one’s face is perfectly symmetrical; some post-operative asymmetry may be a result of asymmetry already present. A second procedure may be necessary to resolve the problem. Swelling  is a normal consequence of surgery and is best treated simply by elevating the head of the bed. Injury to the nerve that gives feeling to the cheek, upper lip and side of the nose occurs in less than 1% of cases. When it does occur, it results in partial loss of feeling to that side of the face. Some numbness after surgery is normal but if the nerve is injured, then there could be permanent loss of feeling. Infection is also rare; prevention is the key and antibiotics will be provided after surgery.

How do I prepare for surgery?

Prior to any procedure, it is necessary to review medications you are taking that may affect your surgery. You may be asked to stop or adjust some medications you are on. As always, it is important to include supplements on your list of medications. Aspirin and aspirin products (Alka-Seltzer, Carisoprodol, Excedrin, Goody’s, Midol), anti-inflammatory medications (except acetaminophen, or Tylenol), and herbal supplements must be avoided for 10 days prior to your surgery. For more details about which medications and supplements to avoid, click here. Dr. Kirby will discuss your medications with you.

Depending on your medical condition, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical checkup prior to your surgery.

Tobacco products impair your body’s ability to heal. You will be asked to stop smoking for 6 weeks prior to any surgery. Tobacco step-down products such as chewing gum and Nicoderm continue to provide your body with tobacco and must be stopped as well. Please ask Dr. Kirby if you will need assistance with quitting.

Be sure to arrange for a responsible adult to drive you to and from your surgery. You will need someone to stay with you the night following your surgery as well.

You will receive specific instructions for your surgery day from Dr. Kirby’s office.

What is my recovery from surgery like?

There is minimal discomfort associated with cheek augmentation. There will be a moderate amount of swelling around the cheek area and possibly under the eyes. This peaks at 48 to 72 hours after surgery and then starts to subside. Crushed ice applied to the cheeks will help during this time. Most of the visible swelling will disappear by about 2 weeks. There may still be a feeling of numbness, which means that some swelling is still present. It will take several weeks before the last bit of swelling has resolved. You should not sleep on your face for at least 6-8 weeks following surgery. Oral pain medication is used to control your post-operative discomfort.

The incisions in the mouth are closed with stitches that dissolve. You should be able to brush your teeth after surgery but be careful with brushing the upper teeth. You should turn the toothbrush vertically and watch yourself brush each individual tooth to make sure you do not disrupt the fresh gum line incision. Your diet should be liquids (juices, milk, shakes, broths, etc.) the first 24 hours then you may start a soft diet. You should not eat foods that are hard or sharp (chips, Doritos, etc.) for 6-8 weeks after surgery.

Call today to book your consultation with Dr. Emily J. Kirby

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