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CHEEK AUGMENTATION

What is cheek augmentation surgery?

The goal of cheek augmentation is to add volume or lift to the cheeks. Some people are bothered by their cheeks losing volume, or even sagging, with age. Others never develop the desired volume in their cheeks and are bothered by cheeks that may be considered flat or thin.

Valid surgical options for augmenting and enhancing the cheeks are fat grafting/transfer (where a patient's fat is used) or the use of solid cheek implants. Other options are bone repositioning, bone grafting, and dermal grafting. A nonsurgical option is the use of dermal fillers to enhance the cheeks.

“Cheek augmentation surgery is a highly individualized procedure. You should do it for yourself, not to fulfil someone else's desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image, especially those coming from social media. Choosing a procedure based on “what’s new” is never a medically sound decision. Hearing about a brand name procedure on television, through an advertisement or online does not necessarily mean it is the best procedure for you.”

Who is a good candidate for cheek augmentation surgery?

In general, you may be a good candidate for cheek augmentation surgery if you wish to enhance the definition and fullness of your cheeks, wish to restore contour and proportion to your facial structures made deficient by ageing, wish to correct facial asymmetry or deformities resulting from injury or congenital conditions, you are physically fit, nonsmoker or have stopped smoking recently and have realistic expectations of the outcome of your surgery.

What should I expect during a consultation for cheek augmentation surgery?

During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your cosmetic goals. Dr Ricardo will evaluate you as a candidate for cheek augmentation surgery and clarify what approach is best for you. Alternative and additional treatments may be considered, once he understands your goals and medical condition. It is important to be completely honest during the consultation and be prepared to discuss your surgical goals, medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments, current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drug use, previous surgeries, and your history with any noninvasive cosmetic procedures.

Dr Ricardo will also evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors, examine your face, take photographs, discuss the approach to your surgery, including the type of procedure or combination of procedures and tell you whether your expectations are in line with typical results, discuss any risks or potential complications and share before-and-after photos of cases similar to yours.

The success and safety of your cheek augmentation surgery depend very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. It's very important to understand all aspects of your procedure. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether it's excitement about your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with Dr Ricardo.

How should I prepare for a cheek augmentation surgery?

In preparing for cheek augmentation surgery, you may be asked to get lab testing or a medical evaluation, take certain medications or adjust your current medications, stop smoking in advance of surgery and avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding.

The surgery will be performed in an accredited hospital and you will probably be permitted to go home after a short observation period unless you and Dr Ricardo have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery. You must arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you the first night following surgery.

Dr Ricardo and the entire staff will provide thorough preoperative instructions and answer any questions you may have. The goal is to help you achieve the most beautiful and natural-looking results, as well as to make your surgical experience as easy, comfortable, and safe as possible.

What are the steps of a cheek augmentation procedure?

Step 1 – Anaesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anaesthesia. Dr Ricardo will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – Surgical procedure

A cheek augmentation requires different incisions based on the technique used. If the fat transfer is used to enhance your cheeks, you will likely have a small incision near the area of fat that is harvested and small incisions near your cheeks. These incisions usually measure just several millimetres in length. If solid cheek implants are used, then the incision is based on Dr Ricardo’s preferred approach. Some plastic surgeons insert cheek implants through an incision inside the mouth, whereas other plastic surgeons operate through an incision under your eyelid.

Step 3 – Closing the incisions

Sutures, skin adhesives (glues) or tapes close the skin incisions.

Step 4 – See the results

Your cheek augmentation will result in fuller and possibly softer-appearing cheeks. Some patients find that their cheeks can even appear lifted.

What should I expect during my cheek augmentation recovery?

Following your cheek augmentation surgery, gauze dressings or bandages may be applied to your incisions. An elastic bandage or compression garment may minimize swelling and support the cheeks as they heal following the surgery. Alternatively, you may not have any dressings or bandages. If you have cheek implants placed through an incision inside your mouth, you may be placed on a liquid diet and/or given special mouth rinses.

You will be given specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with Dr Ricardo. Remember to always follow his instructions to ensure the success of your surgery.

Initial wound healing may take 10 to 14 days. You should be ready to return to work and normal activity after 5-7 days. As swelling and bruising subside, visible improvements in the cheeks appear. The surgical incisions mustn't be subjected to excessive force, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. You must realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.

What results should I expect after my cheek augmentation surgery?

The final results of your cheek augmentation surgery may be initially obscured by swelling. If your cheeks are augmented using fat transfer, the results will be based on how much fat was injected into your cheeks and how much fat your body has retained. This can be determined by many factors, including surgical technique and your own body's metabolism. If solid cheek implants are used, then your final result will be more predictable and permanent.

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