As you age, your face loses collagen and elastin, the two elements that give volume to your skin. As a result, not only does your facial skin begin to sag, but your cheeks start to “hollow out” as well, due to a shrinking of the pad of fat (known as the malar fat pad) attached to your cheek bone. You look more drawn and gaunt. In some ways, the process is similar to what happens to an aging plum: it dries out, loses volume, and shrinks, becoming a prune.
What Treatments are Available?
For a long time, the only treatment to bring youthful fullness back to aging cheeks was surgery. It is still done, of course. Under general anesthesia, surgeons cut an incision, usually made inside the upper lip or lower eyelid, and insert silicone or fat implants. The surgery is done on an outpatient basis, and usually requires only a few days of recovery, although you must wait three or four weeks to return to sports or other activities that might impact your face. The results are permanent.
In recent years, however, physicians have begun to use dermal fillers to increase volume in the cheekbone area. This procedure is minimally invasive, requires little if any down-time, and has fewer side effects than full-blown implant surgery. The results are not permanent; instead, they typically last 6 months to 1½ years. But this shorter time frame also means that the results are essentially reversible if it turns out you don’t like the “new look.”
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What is the Cheek Augmentation Procedure with Dermal Fillers Like?
The treatment generally takes less than an hour, and is done right in your doctor’s office. You’ll be given only a local anesthesia, which means you’ll be awake through the entire procedure. The filler is usually injected in layers to gradually build a new structure for your cheeks.
Are There any Side Effects with Dermal Filler Augmentations?
You’ll experience some mild redness, swelling, and perhaps some bruising. These side effects should disappear within a day or two. Most people are able to return to their daily activities immediately after the procedure.
What can I expect from dermal filler augmentations?
You’ll notice that not only are your cheeks plumper, but the wrinkles on and around them are diminished as well. To maintain the new look, however, you’ll need maintenance treatments, although most people require less filler with each treatment as the skin responds and creates its own new collagen.