Cheek implants are used to augment the shape and definition of the cheeks. They can be used to solve a number of issues for patients, but they are not appropriate for everyone. How do you know if you are a good candidate for these implants? One way would be to set up a consultation with us at Body By Bloch in the Chicago metro area. Another is to read this article, in which we will answer some of the most common questions around cheek implants and help you decide you’re a candidate for them.
Cheek Implants FAQ
What Are They?
Cheek implants are a method of cheek augmentation that changes the underlying structure of the cheek. Unlike a facelift, which focuses on smoothing skin, these implants lend more shape to the cheek. The implants themselves are often made from medical silicon, although other materials are available. All of them are proven safe for use in this manner. These implants are intended to be permanent, but they can always be removed should the patient desire it.
What Are They for?
The depends on the wishes of each patient. Implants can help with the effects of aging, injuries, congenital conditions, or other factors that can lead to undesired facial contours or structures.
What Are My Surgical Options?
When it comes to cheek implants, there are two primary ways one of our board-certified plastic surgeons can conduct the procedure. Both involve the administration of anesthesia, which will help keep you comfortable during the surgery. Whether you receive general or intravenous anesthesia is up to you and your doctor. Once you are prepped for surgery, there are two options for the doctor to take, depending on what you have decided beforehand.
One option involves an intraoral incision, which means an incision inside the mouth. This is made at the top of your upper gum line, and from there, an implant can be slid into place. The other is an external incision at the top of the cheek near the eye. Many patients prefer the intraoral incision to avoid external surgical scarring that can result from the external incision. Overall, the procedure should take between one and two hours.
How Should I Prepare for This Procedure?
In the days leading up to your implant surgery, you should focus on keeping yourself well-rested and eating healthy, just as you would for any other surgical procedure.
Depending upon the type of anesthesia you choose, you may need to fast and/or arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure. If you’re taking any medications, over-the-counter or prescription, be sure to inform us ahead of time in case you need to discontinue the use of any of them.
What Is the Recovery Period Like?
Recovery is usually short and simple, although your doctor will likely advise you to take it easy and avoid things like contact sports while your new implants heal and settle in. You may experience some tightness, as the skin over the cheek has been stretched to accommodate the new implant. If you selected the intraoral incision method for the surgery, your doctor may choose to provide you with preventative antibiotics to do the bacteria in your mouth.
On the day of your surgery, you should plan for a day or two of light activity. Your implants will need time to settle in and the soft tissues around them will require time to heal, keeping your implant in place. Generally speaking though, you can return to work and resume all other normal activities within a week of the procedure.
The Science of Your Cheeks
When you think of how people look when they’re young, chances are one of the things you think of are plump cheeks. As we age though, the soft tissues beneath the skin can begin to sag. This is one of the most recognizable effects of aging and one of the things that cheek implants are most effective at correcting. Many people assume that this sagging is simply the result of gravity and that even fixing it will only result in a temporary solution. Those people, however, are mistaken.
The gradual loss of the soft in pockets beneath the skin of the cheeks is the first thing that contributes to sagging skin. These fatty compartments break down over the years, and the skin that is used to being stretched over them then has nowhere to go but down. If a person has naturally low cheekbones, this effect can be even more pronounced. Luckily, implants won’t break down like soft tissues. They provide people who want to reverse these inevitable effects of aging with a permanent solution to this issue.
Implants vs. Fillers: How to Know Which Is Best for You
In addition to implants, cheek fillers are also a popular means of warding off the effects of age. Fillers are safe injections that a provider will inject directly into the area, and they can last for up to two years before needing a refresher. Fillers also only take five or ten minutes per treatment, unlike implants. Also unlike implants, you’ll need to get these re-done every few years in order to maintain their effect. Each of these options has pros and cons, but which is right for you?
Implants are more expensive than a single filler treatment. They also take longer, have a longer recovery time, and require anesthesia. All of these might make implants sound like a far worse option for most people than fillers, but when you add up the cost and time of going for new filler treatments once every two years, it’s easy to see how the two options equal out over time. If you’re not certain you want the change to be permanent, fillers are a great first step. If you’re averse to surgery or recovery periods, you’ll likewise want to choose fillers.
On the other hand, if you want the results of your procedure to last forever and not have to go back for more, and if you don’t want the results of your procedure to gradually change over time the way fillers do, your choice should be pretty clear.
6 Signs Cheek Implants Might Be Right for You
1. You Are In Good Overall Health
Any candidate for these implants must be in good health prior to the procedure. Our doctor will have to know about any pre-existing medical conditions you may have, particularly those that may impair hearing. You must not have skin that’s too thin for this procedure, and there are also certain bone disorders that can disqualify people from this kind of surgery. Being in overall good health, and in particular having good skin, bone, and ear health, will ensure that you qualify as a candidate for cheek implants.
2. You Have a Positive Outlook
Maintaining a positive outlook and being realistic about what a procedure such as this can help you accomplish is paramount to being a good candidate. Procedures like this one are meant to improve facial symmetry and bolster self-confidence, not achieve perfect facial balance. Being mentally and emotionally strong is therefore important.
Luckily, the recovery period for this particular procedure is fairly short; you’ll walk out of our clinic on the same day as your procedure and only need to return to have sutures removed.
3. You Want to Reverse Certain Signs of Aging
Many people who seek cheek implants do so to address problem areas that commonly crop up as they age. These include:
- Sagging jowls
- Cheeks hollowing out
- Sagging skin or hollow areas beneath eyes
- Deepening nasolabial folds
Nasolabial folds, the lines that start on either side of the bottom of the nose and run to the corners of the mouth, deepen with age. Beneath the eyes, the area where bags appear when people are tired will often sag and take on a crepe paper-like texture. The cheeks themselves lose volume naturally as we grow older, resulting in a hollow appearance. The cheeks serve as a support system for the rest of the skin on your face, too, which is why the jowl line will often sag as the cheeks begin to hollow.
All of this is a normal part of the aging process and happens to just about everyone. If you want to stave it off though, cheek implants are a quick, permanent way of doing so. As long as your expectations are kept realistic, you are a good candidate for this procedure.
4. You Have Used Cheek Fillers in the Past and Liked Them
Injectable fillers such as hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite, and poly-L-lactic acid are effective temporary means of enlivening the cheeks, but their effects will eventually fade.
These solutions may not require surgery, but if you want to maintain the youthful appearance they provide, you’ll have to return to the treatment repeatedly. If you love the look of cheek fillers but hate having to get them injected repeatedly, implants represent the one and only permanent solution. They are an investment you’ll be glad you made if you love the effect of cheek fillers and want to make it permanent.
5. You Have “Weak” Cheeks
These implants don’t have to be solely for anti-aging purposes. Those who have always been dissatisfied with the appearance of their cheeks and wished that they were fuller and plumper may also be candidates. Sometimes, genetics give a person a face that’s more flat or narrow than they would like, but the face can be given more structure and definition with the use of implants such as these. Even a subtle change such as this can help bolster a person’s confidence and self-esteem, improving their quality of life.
6. You Have Been the Victim of an Accident
Aging and genetics are one thing, but sometimes a person’s facial structure changes unexpectedly due to an accident. When this happens, implants can help restore a person’s original appearance, easing their mind and helping them move forward with their life. Implants can help restore an injured person to their previous appearance, which is an invaluable use that can transform lives.
Whether you want to reverse the effects of aging on your face or make yourself look like you’ve always wanted to look, cheek implants are an effective and permanent way of doing so. This procedure is safe, quick, and has a short recovery period. You’ll be amazed at the change, not only in your face but in your attitude and your outlook. If you’re in the Chicagoland area and interested in this procedure, give us a call at Body by Bloch in Chicago, IL and set up your initial consultation. It’s a call you’ll be glad you made!