Facial appearance is determined by three fundamental components: the skin, the soft tissues, and the underlying skeletal structure.
Many cosmetic surgery procedures focus on the first two. A facelift, for example, lifts and tightens the skin and soft tissues to restore a more vibrant and youthful facial aesthetic. These procedures have beautiful results, but there are limitations to what can be achieved by changing the skin and soft tissue alone.
For bringing about dramatic facial changes, few techniques can match the power of bone contouring. Reshaping the hard skeleton is one of the most impactful branches of plastic surgery, and it encompasses a number of areas and techniques.
One of the most popular bone contouring options here at Asian Plastic Surgery is cheekbone augmentation. Below, we answer some of your most frequently asked questions about this procedure.
What Is Cheekbone Augmentation?
Cheekbone augmentation creates better facial proportions by making the cheekbones higher, fuller and more defined. Although there are several treatment options that can achieve this goal, cheek implants and bone grafts offer the longest-lasting solutions.
Cheek implants are available in a variety of synthetic materials, as well as different shapes and sizes. Some are fairly rigid, while others are more flexible. Cheek implants can be customised to suit a specific facial structure and the patient’s particular needs and goals.
Using bone to enhance the cheeks is an alternative to the implant approach. The bone graft may be taken from somewhere else on the patient’s body (an autograft) or from a cadaver (an allograft). A product called a demineralised bone matrix is a substitute for using real bone.
Why Is Cheekbone Augmentation Popular With Asians?
Defined cheekbones signify beauty and youth in many cultures, but what makes cheekbone augmentation especially popular amongst Asian patients?
Asians often lack volume in the mid-face, which gives the face a flattened appearance. This is due to a lack of bone structure in the area. While there is nothing inherently good or bad about this look, some individuals feel it gives their face an imbalanced aesthetic. Cheekbone augmentation increases the projection of the cheekbones, reversing the flat facial shape and enhancing facial harmony while maintaining the natural beauty of the Asian face.
What Else Can Cheekbone Augmentation Accomplish?
In addition to addressing natural deficiencies in cheekbone structure, cheekbone augmentation can correct age-related volume loss that occurs over time.
As we get older, subcutaneous fat begins to disappear and droop, and we progressively lose bone mass. These changes can create a flat or hollow appearance in the mid-face. Without the support of the fat and bone, our skin starts to descend and take on a deflated, tired appearance. This contributes to deepening smile lines and sagging jowls. Cheekbone augmentation is an effective way to address these issues.
What Types of Cheek Implants Are Available?
Cheek implants come in several varieties:
Malar — these implants are placed directly on top of the cheekbones, creating higher projection
Submalar — these implants are placed below the cheekbones, adding fullness to gaunt or sunken cheeks
Combination — this approach combines the malar and submalar positioning, augmenting both the cheekbones and the cheeks
Paranasal — these implants are placed beside the nose to supplement the mid-face bone structure, addressing the flat or retruded mid-face often seen in Asian patients
How Are Cheek Implants Placed?
During the cheek augmentation procedure, a small incision is made inside the mouth or around the lower eyelid. The incision inside the mouth is usually favoured due to the lack of visible scarring.
Once the incision is made, a pocket is created to house the implant. The implant is then inserted and anchored to the bone. The incision is closed with sutures.
Cheek implant augmentation usually takes one to two hours and results in immediate cheek volume and contour improvement.
What Happens in a Bone Grafting Procedure?
When an autograft taken from the patient’s own body is used, the procedure has two steps. First, bone is harvested from the donor location, such as the hip or jaw. Then, the graft is repositioned in the cheek area and fused to the existing bone.
When using an allograft from a cadaver, there is only one surgical site. The graft is inserted into the cheek area, where it serves as a scaffold over which the patient’s own bone can grow. This approach may be preferable for those who do not want scarring in a second area.
For augmentation with a bone graft substitute, the demineralised bone matrix product is injected into the cheek area through a syringe.
Is Cheek Augmentation Permanent?
Cheek implants and bone grafts provide long-lasting results from a single operation. The procedure is considered permanent.
Synthetic implants provide permanent contour improvements to the cheeks and will remain unchanged over time. If you are not satisfied with the final outcome or your aesthetic tastes change, your implants can be adjusted or removed entirely.
What Procedures Complement Cheekbone Augmentation?
Patients who have their cheekbones enhanced may choose to combine the procedure with other forms of facial bone contouring, such as jawline reshaping or chin advancement/reduction, for optimal results. Dermal fillers or facial fat grafting can provide additional contour and volume improvements.
If the cheekbone deficiency is related to ageing and sagging skin is a concern, a facelift can tighten the skin and elevate sinking facial fat to restore a more youthful facial profile.
Are There Other Options for Cheek Augmentation?
Soft tissue enhancement is an option for patients who desire cheek augmentation but are not interested in bone contouring surgery. This can be achieved in two ways:
Cheek Augmentation With Fillers
Injectable dermal fillers offer a minimally-invasive solution for cheek augmentation. Many different fillers are available, and they can be placed quickly and easily during an office visit. Keep in mind that fillers do not provide permanent results. The substance is eventually absorbed by the body, typically within a period of six to 12 months.
Cheek Augmentation With Fat Transfer
Fat transfer or fat grafting is sometimes described as a natural filler. This procedure involves removing excess fat from one area of the body with liposuction and moving it to another location — in this case, the cheek area. Fat grafting is considered a permanent form of filler, but the degree of resorption and retention of the fat can be variable. The final outcome is therefore less predictable than with animplant or bone graft.
Learn More About Cheekbone Augmentation in Sydney
Bone contouring is a demanding and specialised area of plastic surgery. Successful cheek augmentation requires a surgeon who deeply understands facial anatomy, has an artistic eye, possesses extreme attention to detail and holds great surgical skill. That is why so many patients have entrusted their faces to the specialist plastic surgeons at Asian Plastic Surgery.