Cheek implants, or malar augmentation, makes cheekbones more prominent and this can give the face better definition. The implants are usually made of synthetic material and are semi rigid. Once these are implanted they can feel as natural as the bones of your face.
Bone harvested from yourself can also be used to create an implant. In some people the mid face area is not fully developed and this can lead to:
• A downward slant to the eyelids with a lower position of the lid margin
• Eyes that are more rounded than normal
• Lower lid eye bags that develop earlier than usual
• An overall flatter, poorly defined appearance to the face
• An early appearance of lines on either side of the nose leading to the mouth (naso-labial folds)
Occasionally the problem is more extensive, involving the upper jawbone and affecting the way the upper and lower jaw fits together and will require more extensive surgery.
At your consultation your surgeon should take your medical history and ask about any previous surgery or sinus infections. He should also discuss your goals for the procedure and how much increased prominence of the cheek you require. He should determine whether your facial structure makes you a good candidate for malar augmentation surgery and should explain that over-emphasis of the cheekbones would result in an artificial, unsatisfactory appearance.
He should also explain about the types of implant available and together you should decide what is appropriate for you.
What to expect from your surgery
Although malar augmentation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic, it may also be done as a day case. Incisions are made on the inside of the mouth so there are no external scars. The implants are then fixed in position and the wounds closed.
A more limited malar augmentation can be done using your own fat. It is also possible to correct a significant asymmetry between the two cheekbones by using implants complemented by fat transfer.
For the first 4 or 5 days after your procedure you will need a soft diet to protect the wounds inside your mouth. You should also be aware that:
• You will need someone to drive you home and stay with you the first night after your procedure.
• If you experience discomfort this can be eased by taking a mild painkiller such as paracetamol. Aspirin must be avoided as it can promote bleeding.
• You should have your first follow up appointment 1 week after your operation. At that visit the surgeon should inspect your wounds to ensure that everything is settling down well.
• You should avoid returning to exercise for 2 to 3 weeks after the operation, as it can trigger swelling in your face.
• After surgery, it is possible to brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush from the first day onwards. It is advisable to use an antiseptic mouthwash 4 times daily for the first week.
• Swelling can be moderate to significant, but gentle massage can help relieve this.
• Sleeping with 2 pillows for the 2 weeks following surgery should help speed your recovery.