Evaluating Cheek Lift Procedures
Most people consider cheek lift procedures as a remedy for the effects of age and gravity on facial appearance. The procedure produces rather subtle results, giving the facial cheeks a higher and therefore more youthful appearance. It can also increase the size of the facial cheeks, smooth out wrinkles beneath the eyes and around the mouth and create a more rounded smile when the procedure is done correctly. Of course, there can be some negative results to this procedure that should be clearly understood before an individual does this or any cosmetic surgery. All surgeries, no matter how minor, do involve some risk and individuals should not undertake them without fully understanding the dangers involved.
Mid-Face Lift versus Cheek Implants
When lay people refer to a cheek lift they tend not to distinguish between the more extensive, permanent mid-face lift surgery, and the simpler, temporary cheek implant surgery. Occasionally the mid-face lift will also involve cheek implants, but cheek implants used in the second procedure are impermanent. When patients come in to see a plastic surgeon they should have a clear sense of what they hope their surgery will accomplish so that they are not talked into a surgery that is either not effective or more extensive than they would like.
The older and more extensive of the surgeries is the mid-face lift. Like the traditional face lift, the mid face lift involves the pulling and tightening of the facial skin so that wrinkles are lessened and so that the patient’s lower face (beneath the eyes) shows fewer signs of aging. The surgery involves making cuts below the eyes, and pulling the skin that wraps over the cheeks up. Usually a certain amount of fat is removed via liposuction and sometimes cheek implants are inserted.
The surgery takes about two hours and typically costs around eight thousand dollars. Recovery time is up to two weeks.
The number one complaint of patients who undergo this surgery has to do with the effect of it on the upper face. The tightening of the lower skin often has a tugging effect on the upper face as well. Patients sometimes complain that post surgery their lower eyelids took on a permanent drooping effect and that they no longer had eye definition on the lower eye socket area. Practiced surgeons will tell you that they can avoid these problems but many patients continue to complain about them.
Although commonly referred to as a “cheek lift,” cheek implants, by themselves, are not really a lift. The procedure is surgical but it involves the implantation of material into the cheeks in order to create a greater sense of fullness for the patient. Like lip augmentation, the procedure is not permanent and the silicon like material dissolves into the body in about a year. Patients will sometimes experience some wrinkle reduction and greater tautness to the skin simply because the implants take up space, and thus create a bit of tugging, but overall the effect is much more subtle than that of the mid-face lift.
The surgery takes less than an hour and generally loss of work time is minimal (similar to going to the dentist to get a filling). The surgery costs about two grand.
Because this surgery is newer than the mid-face lift, patient complaints have not yet gelled into clear patterns other than the obvious complain about the impermanence of the procedure. It remains to be seen if multiple implantations will have long-term health or well-being implications.
Patients deciding between the two procedures should consider both cost and possible negative consequences. Patients considering such elective surgeries should also keep in mind that any surgery can have unexpected complications and consequences, so they should not enter into such a procedure without a full consideration of the pros and cons of such an action.