Cheek Augmentation

Cheek Augmentation Takes Center Stage

Cheek augmentation is the new "it" treatment for facial rejuvenation and reinvention.

Unlike tweens and teens, who often complain that their cheeks are too plump, those of us in our 30s and beyond often wish our cheeks were a bit plumper. As a result, cheek augmentation treatment has become the chic option for those of us wanting to look as young as we feel.

Wrinkles, age spots and sun damage can all fast-forward the look of your face, but so too can sunken, hollow cheeks. With age, cheeks deflate, causing excess skin to fall toward the jawline. A drop in the production of collagen — the protein that gives skin its structure and elasticity — also may impact cheek appearance. (Collagen production slows with age and our mid-face bears the brunt of it.)

Loss of volume in the mid-face is a telltale sign of aging, but facial plastic surgeons have an increasing number of tools up their sleeves to help target the cheeks — or lack thereof.

Today's cheek augmentation options include:

Cheek implants

Courtesy of AAFPRS

These implants can restore fullness to your cheeks.

The pros: Cheek implants are permanent, so if you like what you see, you can like seeing it forever.

The cons: Cheek implantation is surgery, and all surgeries — even cosmetic ones — come with risks and a recovery period. For example, cheek implants can shift, in which case an additional surgery is required.

Cost: Approximately $3,000. Costs may be higher or lower based on the location of the practice and whether or not other procedures are performed simultaneously.

Soft Tissue Fillers

The use of soft tissue fillers in cheek augmentation has increased in recent years, and this trend is likely to continue with the FDA's approval of Allergan's Juvederm Voluma in October 2013. A host of soft tissue fillers on the market work well for fine lines, facial wrinkles and folds, but Juvederm Voluma is specifically approved to fill cheeks and other larger areas of the mid-face. It is the first and only filler approved for this use, and its effects last up to two years.

Cost: Estimates range from $800 to $1,600 depending on the size of the area to be treated.

Other Fillers

Other fillers that can be used to add volume to the cheek include fat, thick hyaluronic-acid-based gels like Perlane, and collagen stimulators such as Radiesse and Sculptra.

Fat grafting is certainly an option, but the results tend to be unpredictable and very technician dependent. Plus, it involves two procedures: one to harvest the fat from an area where you have some to spare and another to re-inject it into an area where you don't have quite enough (like your cheeks). Multiple treatments and touchups may be needed.

Cost: The cost of fat grafting to the cheek varies depending on the amount of fat harvested and transferred.

Perlane helps replenish your body's diminishing supply of hyaluronic acid, which is found in the connective tissues of your body. As with collagen, the body's natural supply of hyaluronic acid dwindles with age. Perlane's cheek-filling results last about six to 12 months.

Cost: Approximately $650 or more per syringe

Radiesse is made of calcium-based microspheres that are suspended in a water-based gel. It adds volume to the face and stimulates your body's natural collagen production. The results last six months to a year.

Cost: $650 per syringe

Sculptra was developed as a treatment for facial "wasting," or sunken areas of the face in people with the AIDS virus. It helps thicken skin and stimulates the body to replace lost collagen. The results last up to two years.

Cost: Approximately $800 per vial

  • Halaas 58x57

    Yael Halaas, MD, FACS

    60 E. 56th Street
    3rd Floor
    New York, NY 10022
    (332) 239-6439

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    Mune Gowda, MD

    3270 West Big Beaver
    Suite 415
    Troy, MI 48084

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    Sean Maguire, MD

    Physician's Center for Beauty
    24 Chenoweth Lane
    Louisville, KY 40207
    (866) 774-9105