Cheek Augmentation and Reduction Surgery

There are two kinds of elective plastic surgeries which can be carried out on the cheek.

One surgery is known as cheek augmentation, which is where the size and shape of cheek is increased using specially designed cheek implants. The second procedure which can be completed on the cheeks is a cheek reduction surgery.

Cheek augmentations are normally completed by using an implant. There are so many kinds of cheek implants available and when you have your consultation with your plastic surgeon, they will provide a ‘bible’ of all the cheek implants shapes and sizes for you to look at and go through. The surgeon will discuss which kind of implant will suit the shape of your face.

This procedure is often conducted under a local anaesthetic and sedation; this means that you may be able to go home after the surgery depending on if any potential risks or complications arise. The incision is usually placed in the side of the cheek inside the mouth. It is possible however, but extremely rare that incision will be made through the lower eyelid. Once the incision has been made, the implant is then placed through into a pocket of soft, fatty tissue which is just under the eye.

Why have Cheek Augmentation or Reduction Surgery?

If you are bothered by weak cheeks, or have lost volume due to the effects of aging, cheek augmentation can help you achieve a more youthful and flattering appearance. Unlike cosmetic fillers, cheek augmentation is permanent, with many options available to achieve the desired size and shape. Cheek reductions are suitable for people who feel their cheeks are over-full or prominent. The reduction is achieved by the removal of fat, segments of bone, or both.

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The Procedure
Cheek reduction surgery can be completed using one of two techniques. The first technique is where the surgeon creates an incision and removes the excess fatty tissue in the cheek cavity. This helps to slim down the face, making it thinner; more chiseled which in turn accentuates the cheek bones. The cheek reduction technique should not be compared or associated with facial liposuction which is the other technique used to slim down the cheeks. Facial liposuction is where the surgeon makes a few small incisions and inserts a canulla which is a small plastic tube under the skin into the fatty tissue filled areas and attaches the canulla to a vacuum which sucks the fat out of the cheeks. This can also produce the desired effects. These two techniques used for cheek reduction surgery can be completed under general anaesthetic however, as the surgery is classed as a minor surgery, it is more likely that the surgeon will complete this procedure under a local anaesthetic with a light sedation. If the surgery is completed under a local anaesthetic, and there are no reactions or complications, there is no reason why the surgeon will not send you home after you have recovered fully from the sedation. If you chose to have this procedure conducted under general anaesthetic you may have to stay in hospital for a night to ensure that there are no reactions or complications from having the surgery. Both procedures can take up to an hour to complete if no complications or issues arise during the procedure. Once the procedure is over, the surgeon will give you all the instructions required to not only ensure that no complications arise post operatively but also to ensure the fast possible recovery time.
Risks and Complications
Generally, modern day surgery is considered safe. Approximately one-third of patients who receive an anaesthetic during surgery will experience “anaesthesia sickness” or post-operative nausea and vomiting (POVN). As with all procedures there are number of risks and complications that can arise not only from the sedation but also from the procedure itself. These risks and complications include bleeding. Bleeding normally comes from the incision area. It will usually stop after time however, if it does not then you should speak to your surgeon and get the wound checked out as soon as possible. Infection is extremely uncommon however it can happen. This is usually treated using antibiotics. However, as a precaution the surgeon will administer a dose of antibiotics before and after the procedure as the incision is made inside the mouth which holds a lot of bacteria. After the surgery you will be given a mouth wash which should be used regularly to prevent any infection. When having these procedures, the facial nerves may be affected which can lead to lack of feeling in the face. Sometimes the feeling can come back after time, however there are some individuals who’s feeling never come back. Another complication or risk is the growth of scar tissue which forms as a result of the body’s healing process. This can lead to hard lumps or bumps forming in the cheek cavity which can lead to hard muscles which can in turn lead to disfigurement and asymmetry of the face. For the implant procedure, scar tissue growth can be extremely debilitating. Scar tissue can grow around the implant and squeeze the implant that not only causes it to constrict, but this can also cause the implant to change shape causing severe asymmetry of the face and can even cause severe pain. This usually results in the implant having to be removed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. If I have cheek augmentation using an implant, can my implant leak?

A. The cheek implant is made out of the same material that breast implants are made out of. There is a chance that over time, due to wear and tear, the implant will become damaged or leak. This can be fixed by having another implant operation.

Q. Will the procedure be very painful?

A. Unfortunately it is only natural to feel some level of discomfort but it is all down to individual differences. After having the procedure, the surgeon will usually prescribe some pain relief to help you kick start the healing process.

Q. Will my insurance pay for either operation?

A. Insurance companies usually only pay out if there is a medical reason why the individual needs cheek augmentation or cheek reduction. If this surgery is chosen by the individual so no medical reason, therefore making it an elective plastic surgery, then the insurance company will be unlikely to pay for it. However, the only real way to know if your insurance will pay out, is if you speak to them directly as all policies differ.

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