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Facial Cosmetic Surgery

Cheekbone (Malar) Implants

Cheekbone implants (malar augmentation) can be inserted as a part of a facial cosmetic surgery plan, creating the appearance of higher, more prominent cheekbones. Cheekbone implants can be used to improve facial balance, give a more youthful appearance through fuller cheeks or restore forms lost due to trauma or pathology. Patients seeking malar augmentation who prefer a non-surgical option should consult with their oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) about injectable fillers.

Cheekbone Surgery Consultation

Every surgical procedure should begin with a consultation that discusses the goals of the surgery, medical conditions, potential risks and other factors to ensure the surgeon and patient have a mutual understanding.

During a consultation for cheekbone surgery, patients should be prepared to discuss:

  • The patient’s goals for the surgery (e.g., facial balance, more youthful appearance, restoration following trauma/pathology or part of a multi-procedure effort).
  • Medical conditions, including drug allergies, any previous relevant treatments.
  • General health, particularly any pre-existing conditions or risk factors for the procedure.
  • The material or source of the implant.

It is important for an honest discussion of expectations to occur during a consultation. A patient’s age, health, skin texture, bone structure and other factors can affect the results of cheekbone surgery.

In addition to discussing health concerns, patients should expect a thorough physical examination.

A consultation also is the ideal time to ask essential questions about the procedure, such as:

  • What is expected of the patient to achieve the best results?
  • What type(s) of anesthesia will be used?
  • How long will recovery be?
  • What are the risks and complications of cheekbone surgery?

Cheekbone Implant Procedure

After discussing facial cosmetic surgery goals, a surgeon will place malar, submalar or combined malar-submalar contouring implants to achieve the desired effect. Cheek implants often are performed under IV sedation or general anesthesia, but local anesthesia also is an option – the surgeon will recommend the ideal anesthesia for the procedure.

Cheekbone augmentation procedures are straightforward:

  • The surgeon creates incisions – either in the mouth or on the face.
  • The surgeon creates pockets in the tissue and the implants are inserted into these pockets. These pockets will heal around the implants and secure them in place.
  • The incisions are closed.

Recovery after Cheekbone Implants

If the incisions were made beneath the eyelid, gauze or bandages may be applied. If undergoing intra-oral incisions, patients may have to follow instructions for a liquid diet or prescribed mouth rinses. Patients may have an elastic bandage or compression garment to minimize swelling and support the cheeks after surgery.

Patients should always follow their surgeon’s specific recovery instructions, including:

  • Caring for the site of the incision and the location of the implants.
  • Applying or taking any prescribed or recommended medications to reduce pain or minimize the risk of infection.
  • Paying attention to specific concerns about the surgical site or the patient’s unique health concerns.
  • Remembering to follow up with the surgeon as directed.

The final results of cheekbone implants are likely to be obscured by swelling immediately after the surgery, but as the swelling recedes, patients should see their new appearance begin to take shape.

Find an OMS near You

As experts in face, mouth and jaw surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained in facial cosmetic procedures, including cheekbone implants. Patients considering malar augmentation should be aware of other options that may help achieve their desired goals, including injectable fillers. Find an OMS trained in cosmetic facial procedures to discuss your goals and schedule a consultation to determine which procedures are right for you.

While surgery may refine, rejuvenate or enhance existing features, the decision to have a cheekbone implant procedure or other facial cosmetic procedures should not be made lightly. Please talk with your OMS to understand expectations.

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Last updated March 2020

The information provided here is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or dental advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is provided to help you communicate effectively when you seek the advice of your oral and maxillofacial surgeon.