Skip to main content

Cheek Augmentation

Quick Facts Plastic Surgery Procedures

Cheek Augmentation Quick Facts

  • Best Candidates: People who are seeking to improve their appearance by adding fullness to the cheeks
  • Procedure Length: 1 to 2 hours
  • Inpatient/Outpatient: Usually Outpatient
  • Anesthesia: Local with sedation or general
  • Results: Permanent
  • Procedures in 2020: 108,189 (source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons)

High, prominent cheekbones have been regarded as a symbol of youthfulness and beauty throughout history. Cheek augmentation is a cosmetic surgical procedure that uses cheek implants made of silicone or other materials to fill out the cheeks and add definition and balance to the face. The majority of cheek augmentation patients successfully achieve an improved appearance and an increase in self-confidence.

The procedure information contained in this article will give you a good introduction to cheek augmentation. Schedule a consultation with a Top Plastic Surgeon to receive a medical examination and discuss your cheek augmentation options.

Cheek Augmentation Overview

Pads of fat fill out the cheeks and give them plumpness and definition. Aging can cause the fat pads to flatten, change position and drop, or even disappear. These changes can give the face a sunken or bony appearance and accentuate the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles.

Cheek augmentation can improve the contours of the face for people with a sunken appearance or thin, flat cheeks caused by aging or heredity. During the procedure, a cheek implant is placed on top of the cheekbones to fill out the cheeks, add definition to the face and bring the cheeks into better balance with the other facial features. Cheek augmentation can be performed alone or in conjunction with other facial procedures, such as a facelift, forehead lift, nose surgery, eyelid surgery or chin augmentation.

Types of Cheek Implants

Cheek implants come in different shapes and sizes to meet the individual needs of each patient. Most implants are made of solid silicone, a flexible and durable substance which is safe for use inside the body. After a few weeks, tissue forms around the implant for support, and the implant eventually feels like the normal underlying structure. Cheek implants can also be used for reconstructive purposes.

How Cheek Augmentation is Performed

The incisions for cheek augmentation are usually made inside the mouth near the gums or in the creases beneath the lower eyelashes. Cheek implants are inserted through the incisions into pockets in the facial tissue created by the surgeon on or just below the cheekbones. If other facial procedures are being performed, your surgeon may be able to use the incisions for those procedures to place the implants. Cheek implants are sometimes secured to underlying structures with stitches or a small screw. After the implants are placed, the incisions are closed and a dressing applied to the skin.

Cheek augmentation usually takes from 1 to 2 hours to complete, depending on the specifics of the procedure. The surgery is generally performed as an outpatient procedure, allowing you to return to the comfort of home on the same day as the surgery. Cheek augmentation alone is usually performed using a local anesthetic to numb the face along with a mild sedative for relaxation. However, general anesthesia, which puts you to sleep, may be used if cheek augmentation is one of a combination of procedures.

Best Candidates

The best candidates for cheek augmentation are people who are in good health and want to improve the appearance of their face with higher, more prominent cheekbones and an enhanced facial contour.

In general, the best candidates for cheek augmentation:

  • Are in good physical and psychological health.
  • Are well-informed about treatment options and have realistic expectations.
  • Want to improve their appearance by adding fullness and definition to the cheeks.
  • Would benefit psychologically and emotionally from plumper cheeks that are in better balance with other facial features.

If you believe that you may be a good candidate for cheek augmentation, a qualified plastic surgeon can evaluate your circumstances, explain anything about the procedure you don't understand, answer all of your questions and help you decide if the procedure is right for you.

Cheek Augmentation Risks

Complications are rare and usually minor when cheek augmentation is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. However, all surgeries carry risks. To minimize your risk, carefully follow all of your surgeon's instructions both before and after the procedure. Contact your surgeon's office immediately if you experience any symptoms you believe may indicate a complication.

The most common risks associated with cheek augmentation surgery include:

  • Shifting of the implant
  • Pain, swelling or bruising beyond normal levels
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Numbness (usually temporary)
  • Infection
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Dissatisfaction with results

In rare cases, a second procedure is necessary to treat a persistent infection or to reposition an implant that shifts or becomes misaligned. Scars are usually well-hidden inside the mouth or in the creases below the lower eyelashes.

Cheek Augmentation Costs

The national average surgeon/physician fee for cheek augmentation in 2013 was $2,674, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This figure does not include other costs, such as anesthesia, operating room facilities or other related expenses. You should be provided with complete information on costs and financing options at the initial consultation with your doctor.

The total fee for cheek augmentation can vary depending on the region of the country, the extent of the procedure and your specific needs as a patient. As it is considered to be a cosmetic procedure, the cost of cheek augmentation is usually not covered by health insurance.

Cheek Augmentation Consultation

If you decide that you might benefit from cheek augmentation, the first step is to locate a qualified plastic surgeon and schedule a consultation. At the consultation, the doctor will examine your face, including the skin and underlying bone. He or she should carefully listen to the goals you have for your appearance and explain the different options that are available.

The surgeon should give you the full details of the recommended procedure, including the benefits, risks, costs and recovery time. Be sure to ask for before and after photos of the surgeon's recent cheek augmentation patients.

The surgeon will take a complete medical history, including existing medical conditions, medications (prescription and non-prescription) and vitamins. Be sure to tell the surgeon if you have any allergies, thyroid problems (such as hypothyroidism, inadequate tear production or eye dryness), high blood pressure or other circulatory disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or eye problems (such as a detached retina or glaucoma).

As the consultation concludes, you may wish to schedule your procedure, take some time to think or seek a second opinion. If you decide to proceed with the procedure, your plastic surgeon will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for your cheek augmentation. These instructions will include guidelines for eating, drinking, and medications and vitamins to take or avoid before and after surgery.

Cheek Augmentation Recovery

After cheek augmentation, most patients experience some minor discomfort along with temporary swelling, bruising and numbness. Any pain should subside quickly and be easily controlled with medication. Swelling and bruising usually peaks a few days after the procedure and disappears after a couple of weeks. However, it may take several months for all swelling to subside and the results of the procedure to be plainly visible.

Moving the mouth may be difficult immediately after surgery and patients may temporarily find it hard to smile and talk. If the incisions were made inside the mouth, you may be placed on a soft food diet for several days.

For the first few days after your eyelid surgery, take it easy, get plenty of rest and follow all of your post-operative instructions. Your plastic surgeon will ask you to keep your head elevated and apply cold compresses for a few days or longer to reduce swelling. Compression bandages may be worn for several days to keep the cheek implants firmly in place. Stitches used inside the mouth will dissolve in about 10 days.

Most patients can resume normal activities and return to work in about a week. Strenuous activity or any activity that involves contact or pressure to the cheek should be avoided for at least 3 weeks.