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Cheek Augmentation

Cheek augmentation
The bone structure and tissue of our cheeks play an important role in beauty by contributing to the overall facial harmony and balance of features.  A look through any fashion magazine quickly reveals that prominent cheekbones are regarded as a sign of beauty, and is one reason women and men of all ages opt to undergo cheek augmentation. 

Around age 40, aging begins to take its toll on cheeks in two ways: the amount of facial fat naturally declines and the fat pads that underlie cheek muscles begin to descend, drawing down the skin and creating folds between the nose and mouth called nasiolabial folds.  Especially in people with long, thin faces, the loss and shifting of fat in the cheeks can result in a tired, gaunt look. 

There are three approaches to addressing issues related to cheeks: surgical lifting (see midface lift and Threadlift™ sections), cheek implants and injectable fillers.  Each has its benefit, making the choice a matter of the individual issues you want to address, your goals for aesthetic results, the degree of permanence you desire, your tolerance for downtime and the amount of money you want to spend. 

In your case
Dr. Sykes has extensive experience in all types of cheek enhancements, which enables them to tailor the approach best suited to your needs, facial structure, budget, and time you can give to recovery.   During your consultation, the doctors will discuss your concerns, go over the various approaches available and discuss the pros and cons of each as they relate to you.  If you are considering having more than one procedure, they may suggest implants or a midface lift, so that you can combine recovery and achieve a more permanent result. 

Cheek implants
To widen the face or to round out flatter cheeks, the doctor may suggest cheek implants.  There are several different materials currently approved for use, which the doctors will discuss with you.  In general, if incorporated with a face, midface or forehead lift, the implants will be inserted through incisions made for those procedures.  If done alone, cheek implants are typically inserted through an incision above the gum line in your mouth and anchored along the cheek bone.  The procedure takes about one to two hours when not combined with other surgeries.  Recovery varies patient by patient, but usually involves some degree of bruising and swelling that takes about two weeks to resolve. 

Injectable fillers
New fillers continue to come onto the market each year to address the desire for improvement with minimal or no downtime.  Dr. Sykes has worked with all currently approved injectable materials and can help guide you to the best choice, based on their experience and the results they’ve achieved with the various options.  It’s important to note that all injectable fillers are temporary and last anywhere from a few months to two years or longer.  The choices include fat transfer of your own body fat or placement of a filler such as Radiesse® or Sculptra™.   

The good news is that there are plenty of options available and each offers a noticeable improvement to the image you see in the mirror.  A personal consultation with Dr. Sykes will allow you to determine the best choice for your needs.  To schedule a consultation, click here

Cheek Implant Fast Facts
The following are general guidelines only.  Variations are common. To learn about the various fillers available, please visit the Injectable Fillers section of this Web site.

Surgery length:

1 to 2 hours


Office or hospital outpatient surgery suite


Light sedation, patient is asleep during surgery


None, sutures are placed within the mouth

Pain & discomfort:

Mild but noticeable pain for 48 to 72 hours, typically requiring pain medication for a few days.  Ice packs and a soft diet help speed recovery.    

Swelling & bruising:

Moderate, generally peaking by day three.  Bruising typically fades in 10 to 14 days.  

Suture removal:

Dissolvable sutures are commonly used, requiring no removal.

Return to work:

One to two weeks

Resume exercise:

Two weeks for gentle exercise, six weeks for strenuous exercise

Initial results:

Immediate, once swelling diminishes 

Final results:  

Within a few weeks


Permanent, affected by ongoing aging



Jonathan M. Sykes, MD
Professor/Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
UCDavis Medical Group
2521 Stockton Blvd., Suite 6206
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-2347
Click for Directions

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