The definition of the cheek bones is the first thing that we notice on a person’s face. Well defined contours of cheek bones can make a person look instantly attractive. But not everybody is blessed with well defined facial contours. Fortunately, modern medical marvels have made it possible for everyone to have the facial contours they have always dreamed of.

People who feel their faces lack definition and contour can go for cheek implants. Also, people who have a narrow or a flat face or have lost definition of the cheeks due to ageing can also benefit from cheek augmentation. The surgery for cheek implants is not a very complicated procedure. The aim of the surgery is to enhance the cheeks of the patient.

The surgery may be done by placing the implants on the cheek bones. Sometimes a patient’s own fat can be used as filler or soft tissue filler like Restylane can also be used. Generally, the cheek implants are done in combination with other procedures like face lift.

Are cheek implants safe?

Cheek bone implants are safe for cosmetic enhancement and have been in use for almost 50 years now. Cheeks implants come in various shape and sizes and can be tailored according to a person’s face.

What are cheek implants made of?

Silicone is the most common material a cheek implant is made of. The silicone implants do not merge with the face tissues and can be easily removed if one wishes to do so. Also, cheek implants can be made of high density polyethylene, commercially known as Medpor and ePTFE which is expanded polytetrafluoroethylene. Both the materials are inert and merge with the tissues of the face. However, since Medpor integrates with the tissues underneath, it is difficult to make changes in case one wishes to do so.

How is the surgery performed?

If cheek augmentation is done in combination with other facial procedures such as face lift, rhinoplasty, brow lift etc. the implants can be put in through the same incisions made for those procedures. If they are not being placed in conjunction with other procedures the incision is generally made near the gum line in the upper mouth area. In some cases the incision can also be made in the lower eyelid area. This method, however, is not preferred as there can be visible scarring.  The stitches take about 10-12 days to get dissolved. The procedure is carried out under general anesthesia.

Types of cheek implants

There are three types of cheek implants categorized according to their shape; submalar, malar and combined. The most commonly used implants are malar implants which are placed directly on the cheek bones which provides a higher contour and definition to the sides. Submalar implants are meant for the midface and not the side. It is appropriate for patients who have a sunken midface. The combination of malar and submalar implants is used for overall midface as well as cheekbone augmentation.

Complication and risks

The cheek implantation procedure is relatively safe and the risks are relatively rare. If a person uses antidepressants, tobacco or some other substances, it should be told to the surgeon prior to the surgery as the anesthesia may have an adverse effect in combination with these substances. As with any other surgical procedure, there is always a risk of infection, formation of a blood clot, excessive swelling and bruising. Also, if the procedure is not carried out by an experienced surgeon, it may cause asymmetry in cheek augmentation, which may necessitate a corrective second surgery.


Cheeks implants are a great idea for someone who wants to enhance their appearance by improving the definition of cheeks. Also, one can get age-defying looks with the help of cheek implant surgery as the surgery helps in restoration of proportion and contours of the cheeks. Also, this surgery is beneficial in rectifying congenital defects and facial deformities. One of the biggest advantages of this procedure is that it can be performed in isolation and does not require any surgery on any other part of the body such as fat grafting. The procedure does not take much time and the healing period is also shorter. Sometimes to achieve even better cosmetic results a surgeon may perform other surgery like dermal grafting in addition to cheek implants. It is important that the candidate for the surgery has realistic expectation from the procedure. The procedure, although relatively simple, can have great impact on one’s life therefore it should only be carried out by an expert surgeon. Post-operative instructions should be followed closely to avoid the possibility of any infection

Dr.Debraj Shome is one the India’s top facial surgeon with more than a decade of experience in the field of plastic surgery. He has many accolades to his name and is currently practicing in Mumbai, India.


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