When you think of surgical procedures that can make you look more youthful, the first thing you think of might a be a facelift. But, a facelift isn’t the only option if you want a more refreshed or youthful appearance.
Cheek implants can also give you a more youthful look, by enhancing and lifting the cheekbone area.
Cheekbones and Youth
You might have heard of something called the triangle of youth. It refers to the shape of your cheekbones and chin when you are younger.
Usually, young people have wider and more prominent cheekbones and a smaller chin or jaw. As you get older, the cheeks start to sag and lose volume and the triangle flips. It becomes wider at the chin and jaw and narrower in the cheek area.
While some people have naturally high cheekbones that will allow them to preserve their triangle of youth longer, others don’t. As you age, you’ll lose fat in the cheeks. For some people, the loss of fat can be dramatic, creating a sunken or hollow look in the face.
A number of other factors also contribute to the loss of the triangle of youth. Your facial bones become smaller as you age. Your body also begins to produce less collagen, the support structure beneath the skin, so your skin becomes thinner and more fragile.
Implants vs. Facelift
Facial rejuvenation can consist of two parts. The first part is reducing wrinkles or loose skin. That’s the role of a facelift. It trims away extra skin and fat in the mid and lower face, creating a more youthful appearance.
The second part of facial rejuvenation involves restoring lost volume. Cheek implants help restore volume, as do non-surgical options such as Juvederm Voluma and Sculptra. One of the major differences between implant and non-surgical fillers is how long they last. Implants are permanent while fillers last for a few years at the most, then must be repeated.
The Implant Process
Before the surgery, you’ll meet with a doctor to discuss what you can expect. The doctor will explain the procedure to you and determine if it’s the best choice for you. He’ll also explain the different implant options, such as silicone or Gore-Tex implants, and help you pick the appropriate shape and size.
Generally, the time it takes to insert cheek implants is considerably less than the time it takes to perform a facelift. The implant process typically takes two hours or less. During the surgery, you’ll most likely be under general anesthesia or IV sedation.
The surgeon will usually make the incisions inside the mouth, so that they are hidden from view. Common incision sites include just above the lip or below the lower eyelid. Once the incision is made, the implant is inserted just under the skin, then the incision sewn closed.
Recovery and Downtime
Recovery after facial implant surgery is often quicker than recovery after a facelift. In many cases, people can get back to work or their regular activities within a week of the procedure, compared to two weeks for a facelift.
It’s likely that you’ll feel some discomfort or pain in the first few days after the implants are placed. You may have some swelling, which will make your results look more dramatic. Once the swelling goes down, you’ll be able to see the final results of the surgery.
What if You Don’t Like the Results
While implants are designed to be permanent, one benefit of them is that they are completely removable if you are decide you don’t like them. You can choose to have the implants taken out and left out or decide to swap them for implants of a different size, shape or material.
Before having implant surgery, you might decide to try out a filler, such as Voluma, to see what you’ll look like with more prominent cheeks. Along with not being permanent, fillers have a shorter recovery time (usually a day or less) and take less time to perform.
Facial implants might be the right option for you, but it’s important to understand that they aren’t a replacement for a facelift. You might still decide to have a facelift performed years down the road or soon after your implant surgery, to reduce sagginess in the chin or neck area.
Palm Beach facial plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Schwartz performs facelifts and implant surgery at his practice. With more than two decades of experience, he can help you decide if cheek implants are the right pick for you. To schedule an appointment, call his practice at 561-228-5888 today.