One of the most obvious signs of ageing is the increasing hollowness of the cheeks. This is due to the gradual reduction with age of the flesh which provides the fullness, compounded by loosing the teeth. The skin of the cheeks is drawn inwards and thrown into folds. The problem with losing teeth is that the gums wither away when they are not supporting them. When dentures are fitted on the thin gums they cannot be made up to the same height as the teeth were originally.
The loss of the fullness of the cheeks can be improved by doubling over the cheek tissues under the skin, done as part of a facelift in special cases. This produces a much more attractive rounded shape to the cheek which is virtually permanent.
The same procedure can also be done over the cheek bones during a facelift, but it does not work as well as implants of foreign material in accentuating the height.
A new procedure which is rapidly becoming very popular is to inject autologous (the patient's own) fat into the hollow of the cheek to replace the lost volume due to ageing. This is also effective in correcting minor discrepancies in the shape and size of the two cheeks. There are two disadvantages however.
Firstly some of the fat is absorbed very quickly, i.e. it does not "take" so that rather more fat than the volume of the defect is likely to be required and how much more difficult to judge. Most surgeons will aim slightly on the side of caution to avoid producing an unnatural bump and be prepared to add a little more later should there be any need.
The second disadvantage is that even the fat which does take will slowly disappear so that after a few years it will need to be repeated. As the procedure is easy to perform and so effective, having to repeat it in the future is not a great problem. There is the great advantage that there are unlikely to be any visible scars as a result.
The height and projection of the cheekbones can be altered by the insertion of silicone implants, these are shaped and designed to rest on the patients own cheek bones. These are usually inserted via a small incision in the mouth.
These can be used if a small increase is required. Unfortunately collagen is gradually absorbed by the body and top up injections will be necessary at intervals.
Post operative events
Malposition: cheek implants can move out of position to give an asymmetrical appearance to the face. This is more likely to happen during the early post operative phase.
Infection can also occur in the post operative period. The implant has to be removed and the infection effectively treated before re-insertion.
Cheek implants can produce a dramatic improvement in suitable cases and the result is permanent. Higher cheekbones tend to make people more photogenic. Collagen injections and fat transfer produce more subtle effects which slowly change back with time.
How much will it cost?
Your best investment is an individual consultation with a surgeon you trust. Cosmetic Surgery is usually a life-time investment. Our patients are treated as individuals, and costs do vary from person to person dependant on their individual needs. However, the total cost of your procedure will be quoted at the consultation, fully inclusive with no hidden extras.
Should I have cheek reshaping?
Only you can answer that question. Be sure you are doing it for the right reasons: your own sense of self confidence and self esteem. No matter what anyone else thinks, if you are happy with your appearance there is no reason to have it changed. So before making that decision, attend a consultation, get the facts. Be realistic in your expectations and make an educated decision that is right for you.