DURATION 2 hours
RECOVERY 5-7 days
INSURANCE COVERAGE No
As we age we lose volume in our face. This volume loss occurs with the atrophy of fat and the thinning of the skin. Of course, the areas we want to keep fat disappear as it migrates to those stubborn areas we do not want it. In addition, we also lose the thickness of the underlying bony skeleton. Replacing all of volume can be accomplished three ways: synthetic fillers, fat grafting, and the use of silicone implants. The primary areas in which we see the effects of the volume loss are the cheeks, chin and the temples. Fillers are the easiest and most reliable option for volume replacement. The downside to fillers is that they do not last forever and repeated injections can be costly. But for those who want small amounts of gradual volume replacement, this is the best option. Fat grafting serves as a convenient middle ground between fillers and silicone implants. The main issue with fat grafting that all surgeons attest to is that it is “reliably unreliable.” One must always over inject as the fat undoubtedly atrophies over time. Overall it can produce some of the best results, but there is no guarantee of results with this method as every patients responds differently. The third option is silicone implants, which Dr. Patel most often uses in the chin and cheek. There are many reasons patients opt for these implants and all are done without an external incision. The most common question about implants: will I feel them? Fortunately the answer is no! Dr. Patel has published literature on the use of cheek implants to enhance facelift results. The chin implants are similarly used to enhance the result of a rhinoplasty to help improve and balance one’s profile. Both implants are safe and can be performed under local anesthesia.
During the implant procedure, a small incision is made inside the mouth, near the gumline, o; it is through this incision that the implant is inserted. A pocket is created before the implant is placed; the implant is then secured by attaching it to bone or soft tissue, and the incision is closed with sutures.
Augmentation with cheek implants is performed, using local anesthesia, in a surgeon’s office or outpatient surgery center, and usually takes 30 to 45 minutes. Generally Dr. Patel will place “sizers” or temporary implants to assess which size has the most appropriate look for what you desire. After that, the formal implant is soaked in antibiotic solution and deployed.
Recovery And Results From Implants
After augmentation, there is a slight soreness, swelling and numbness at the incision site; they are managed with over-the-counter or prescribed pain medication. Keeping the head elevated to minimize swelling is recommended. Patients usually return to work within 3 days, with 6 weeks usually required for complete recovery. Your chin will be taped after a chin implant and two pieces of cotton rolls will be sutured to each cheek after a cheek implant.
The results of cheek implant surgery are immediately apparent. Implants provide long-lasting results from a single procedure, unlike facial fillers, which must be continually repeated to maintain results. There is no visible scarring from incisions placed in the mouth, and only minimal scarring from incisions placed in the lower eyelids. Most patients are deeply concerned with being able to feel the implant; however though you can feel if when you push against where it is placed, you won’t feel it otherwise and it has not been bothersome in our experience.
Risks Of Cheek Implants
In addition to the risks associated with any surgery, those related to augmentation with cheek implants include the following:
- Loss of sensation
- Implant site infection
- Implant shifting
In addition, as with breast implants, scar capsules can form around implants. Unlike those that form around breast implants, however, they do not affect cosmetic results.