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Cheek Implants Vs. Injectable Fillers

Posted: 9:00 a.m. Monday, July 9, 2018

By Anita Mandal, M.D.
Question: I had many lines above my upper lip. A plastic surgeon treated me with Restylane. While some of the deeper lines look better, the fine lines are still there. Worst of all, my upper lip skin looks over-plumped and unnatural. How could I have prevented this?

Answer:Cheek implants have been around for decades, but are less popular than injectable fillers. Cheek implants involve surgery, have a risk of infection and can extrude. In contrast, cheek fillers come with lower risk.

Cheek implants are available in fixed shapes and sizes, making them more limited in terms of the results that can be achieved. In comparison, in skilled hands, injectable fillers allow the surgeon to sculpt the shape of your cheeks to your unique needs.

While many people think that cheek implants are permanent, the fact is that, as you age, the overlying skin thins out and you lose fat in your cheeks. If you have had cheek implants, your cheeks may not lose volume as quickly with age. However, it is not uncommon for the implant edges to become visible over time and require additional treatments for correction. In essence, “permanent” does not necessarily mean “better”.

To restore volume loss with age, injectable fillers can be placed in the tissues overlying the implant as long as one is careful not to inject into the implant or directly on its surface. Injectable fillers can also further refine the volumization achieved with a solid implant. A third use of injectable fillers is to soften the implants edges that become visible with age.

While many injectable fillers such as Radiesse, Sculptra, Restylane Lyft and Juvederm Voluma are temporary and require regular maintenance treatments, long-term injectable fillers can be quite effective. Stem cell fillers as well as Bellafill, the 5-Year filler can volumize the cheeks with optimal results due to these fillers’ ability to more precisely sculpt a large 3 dimensional area, without the need for cheek implants. Maintenance treatments are much less frequent with long-term injectable fillers as well.

If you are interested in cheek volumization, the most important step is to seek a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon who is knowledgeable on both the surgical and aging cheek anatomy as well as being highly skilled in surgical and injectable cheek volumization treatments. Such a combination allows you to receive optimal advice on the treatment options most suitable for unique needs.

Look 9 Years Younger in 90 Minutes or Less

Stem Cell Fillers: Using your own stem cells, long-term, minimal downtime

Laser WhisperLift™, 90 Minutes: 1 cm micro-incision surgery, tighten sagging neck & jowls, local anesthesia, minimal downtime.

Bellafill, 60 Minutes: The 5 Year Filler – Dr. Mandal is a BellaDiamond physician in the top 1% of expert Bellafill injectors in the world

Infini RF, 40 Minutes: Non-Surgical Facelift for sagging jowls and neck, no downtime

SculpSure, 25 Minutes: Permanent, non-invasive body fat reduction

Kybella, 10 Minutes: Permanent, minimal invasive neck fat removal


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