Poorly defined, flat cheeks can occur at any stage of life. While they are a side effect of aging (the fat pads slide down the face), there are some patients who just lack definition. When that’s the case, the cheeks should be corrected in a manner that maintains a full, natural look that appears youthful.
Why it happens: Just like the chin, the cheeks can also lack fundamental support, which is what gives them definition, fullness and a high-set look. “We see cheekbones that are too flat and don’t have enough projection, which make the face lack the appropriate balance,” says New York plastic surgeon Sherrell Aston, MD.
The surgical solution: Back in the day, cheek implants were the go-to for correcting a lack of definition in the area. While still available, they remain better suited to those who want permanent fullness and definition once and for all. “Using implants to correct deficient cheeks is largely determined by the extent of the underdevelopment,” says Ann Arborm, MI, plastic surgeon Richard Beil, MD. For patients who are extremely deficient, some doctors, like Dr. Aston, feel that implants give superior results because of their ability to achieve longer-lasting contours. To place the implants, which come in a variety of shapes, sizes, widths and projections so they can be tailored to what you need, an incision needs to be made on the inside of the mouth—from there, the implants are tunneled through to the cheek and put into place. “Like any implant, the key to making chin implants look natural is not making them too big,” says New York plastic surgeon Charles H. Thorne, MD.
The filler fix: Using the right type of filler (a hyaluronic acid like Juvéderm Voluma, a collagen-stimulating filler or even fat) in the right amount and injecting it properly can enhance the look of the cheeks and give them more of a distinct angle as opposed to a flat, lifeless one. When using fillers in this area, the key to getting a natural look that’s not overdone is all in the technique. “The nice thing about using fillers to correct the cheeks is that you see the results right away. There’s also the benefit of collagen stimulation that you don’t get with an implant,” says Miami plastic surgeon Sean Simon, MD.
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