Treatment guide

Cheek Augmentation

Cheek augmentation is a common cosmetic procedure which aims to enhance the prominence of your cheekbones. If you are looking into getting high cheekbones, your surgeon can achieve aesthetically attractive and balanced features by applying filler and re-contouring facial tissue.

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  • People who feel that the skeletal structure of their face is imbalanced, particularly those who have narrow cheekbones that are not in harmony with the breadth of their jawline.

  • This means that the procedure is often favoured by those with "square" head shapes.

  • Individuals suffering from sagging facial skin (ptosis), who desire a comprehensive cosmetic solution. This generally applies to those aged 40 and upwards.

  • Victims of accidents or medical conditions which affect the shape of their facial bones.


  • Following augmentation procedures, expect swelling to last for two to three weeks.

  • Patients are advised to avoid sleeping on the side of their face for around six weeks following surgery.

  • The final results can usually be seen within two months of surgery.


  • The cheek augmentation operation will generally take between 30 mins and one hour.

  • Most patients are able to return home the same day. However, if additional procedures are required, overnight admissions may be advised.


  • Research studies have found that cheek augmentation tends to lead to high rates of patient satisfaction and improvements in physical appearance.

  • Other studies have found satisfaction rates of 92% after one year.


  • As with all surgical procedures, cheek augmentation carries a very slight risk of complications. This can include haematomas, infections, bleeding and scarring around incision sites. As a local anaesthetic is required, there is also a small risk of an adverse reaction.

  • Numbness in the cheeks is another common side effect. This will almost always recede within six weeks of the procedure.

  • Other risks are associated with cheek implants. This can include facial scarring, necrosis of fatty tissues, undesired aesthetic results and persistent pain. These consequences are rare and can often be addressed by follow-up appointments.


What is Cheek Augmentation?

Cheek augmentation seeks to alter the physical shape of the patient's face - focusing on the size of the cheekbones. The cheeks are a crucial part of our facial structure and produce appearances that are seen as "classically beautiful" in some cultures. If individuals are unhappy with the proportions of their face, augmentation can raise and enhance their cheeks relative to their jaw, eyeline, forehead and nose. The procedure generally requires surgery, which is relatively simple, quick and has a very high success rate.

How Does Cheek Augmentation Work?

The most common form of augmentation is to use cheek implants which are applied underneath the patient's skin. In this case, the procedure will proceed as follows in the majority of cases:

1. Initial consultation

Before the operation, it's essential to discuss your options with a cosmetic surgery expert. There are alternatives to surgery, which is generally the last resort. It's vital to be realistic about the objectives of surgery. Your surgeon will explain clearly what can be achieved and how to prepare. At this stage, it may also be necessary to carry out assessments to determine the shape of implants. These will then be sent for manufacture so that they are ready in time for your surgery.

2. Admission

Immediately prior to admission, you will be advised to stop certain medications and abstain from tobacco or alcohol. The augmentation procedure itself can generally be completed on an outpatient basis, so you won't need to plan for an overnight stay.

3. Anaesthesia

The first stage of the procedure is the administration of a local anaesthetic to the areas concerned. This will ensure that no pain results from the surgical incisions required to carry out implantation.

4. Incisions

Augmentation requires surgeons to work beneath the skin, so incisions will be required to obtain access, In some cases, single incisions are used on either cheek. This allows surgeons to remove excess fat but is not suitable for implantation. If implants are required, a further incision will be made. This will usually be made inside the mouth, allowing your surgeon to place artificial implants securely and accurately.

5. Implantation and fat removal

This is the core of the procedure and where reshaping takes place. Almost all augmentation procedures will require some degree of fat removal - a simple process which takes a few minutes. This will be followed by the positioning of specially designed implants. Implants are usually made from silicone or a plastic compound called polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). Both are used for their inert properties, meaning that they will not react with body tissues.

6. Closing incisions and discharge

When the implants have been positioned accurately, the surgeon will assess the procedure, ensuring that contouring has been carried out properly. When they are satisfied with the outcome, they will close any incisions securely via surgical sutures. Patients will then usually be discharged immediately.

7. Aftercare

Before leaving the clinic, patients will be provided with advice about wound care and recovery - enabling them to adapt to swelling and numbness. Swelling should subside within one to two weeks, and full recovery is usually seen within two months.

Are There Different Types of Cheek Augmentation?

Yes, there are several types of augmentation to think about. For one thing, there are three major types of implants:

  1. Malar implants - these implants are attached to the peaks of the cheekbones and have the effect of "raising" them to greater prominence.

  2. Submalar implants - intended to make cheeks seem "fuller" and wider.

  3. Hybrid or combined - a commonly used mixture of malar and submalar implants. Implants can also be made from a range of different materials. Silicone and pTFE are the most common versions, but Medpor (high-density porous polyethylene) is also becoming common.

Then, there is the option of non-surgical cheek augmentation. In these cases, surgeons will apply what is known as a "dermal filler" underneath the skin. This requires a very short out-patient appointment and generally results in a shorter period of swelling than surgical alternatives. However, the results are not permanent, and additional fillers may be required every 9-12 months.

What Should I Expect?

If you choose cosmetic implants, you can expect permanent changes to the appearance of your cheekbones. As discussed with your surgeon, your cheeks will appear to be more prominent and may seem "fuller" in comparison with your jaw. This should produce a more pleasing appearance. Expect a lengthy period of recovery where the tissues in your face settle down and adapt to your implants. It's natural for final results to become clear around four to six months after surgery - although improvements to cheekbone structure will be immediately apparent. Revisions are very rarely required with surgical augmentation although it's advisable to schedule follow-up appointments with your cosmetic surgeon. They will be able to assess how your tissues are reacting and whether any fat removal is required.

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