Sunken, flattened cheeks are signs of inadequate facial volume. While this may occur from natural aging in patients I see from northern Virginia, sunken cheeks are also commonly congenital or genetic. These facial features may run in families. Cheek volume loss may also be seen earlier with some medical conditions, severe weight changes, trauma, or medications too.
Several cosmetic options are available to improve volume loss in the cheeks or midface and to sculpt the face. Treatment obviously is to add volume, typically. Injectable fillers with hyaluronic acid (Restylane or Juvederm) may be appropriate in the tear-trough or nasolabial folds, otherwise known as smile lines. Alternatively, longer acting facial fillers such as Radiesse or Sculptra provide longer-term improvement of the cheeks. All these injections are office procedures with temporary results.
Other cheek enhancement options include fat injections, which have been used for decades for facial rejuvenation. Fat injections have the potential for long-term natural cheek enhancement, in addition to a poorly understood possible “stem-cell” effect. Cosmetic surgery with a silicone implant or midface lift may be more appropriate in selected patients. Silicone cheek implants are a good option for permanent cheek enhancement in northern Virginia patients. Cheek implants placed via small intraoral incisions enhance the cheek bones, add volume underneath the cheek bones or midface, or both.
Lastly, the cheeks can be enhanced by removing excess volume, which may appear counterintuitive. However, some patients are born with too much fat and may benefit from buccal fat reduction. Alternatively, large jaw muscles may distract from the cheeks. These patients can enhance the upper face by jaw line reduction with Botox.
There isn’t one best treatment for facial plastic surgery procedures. Cosmetic cheek augmentation has several options. Only after a comprehensive evaluation by a specialist can he/she help determine appropriate options for your northern Virginia cheek enhancement.