Throughout the ages, many cultures, including our modern western civilization, have considered prominent or high cheekbones a sign of physical beauty. Until recently, the only way to create an illusion of high cheekbones was through the skillful application of cosmetics. Often, however, makeup could not sufficiently alter what nature had produced.
Today, because of modern technology, there is a remarkable procedure, malar augmentation or cheek implant, that can give women the high cheekbones they desire. This surgery, although not designed for everyone, can give definition to a face that has a flat contour because of underdeveloped cheekbones. The best candidate for malar augmentation is the individual with a long, narrow face or one with a very round face and flat cheeks. It can also benefit people with asymmetries or congenital defects. This surgery can be performed in conjunction with other facial surgeries such as blepharoplasty (surgery of the eyes) or rhytidectomy (facelift).
Prior to surgery, a complete medical history is taken to evaluate the general health of the patient. A careful examination is also conducted. The physician describes to the patient the type of anesthesia to be used, the procedure, what results might realistically be expected, and possible risks and complications. Photographs may be taken before and after surgery to evaluate the amount of improvement. Preoperative instructions may include the elimination of certain drugs containing aspirin in order to minimize the possibility of excess bleeding. Antibiotics may be prescribed for a few days prior to surgery to prevent infection. The areas to be worked on are carefully marked.
Malar augmentation can be performed in a physician’s office, an outpatient surgical facility or a hospital, depending on the physician’s and patient’s preference. It can be performed under general anesthesia with the patient asleep or under local anesthesia in which the area is numbed and the patient remains awake. Pre-medication may be administered to relax the patient.
The face is thoroughly cleansed with an antiseptic cleansing agent after which an incision is made either inside the mouth or immediately below the lower eyelids. With the internal approach, the most frequently used procedure, the incision is made between the upper gums and the cheek. The soft tissue is elevated, creating a pocket over the cheekbone. An implant, usually triangular in shape, is then inserted. (Fig. A) The implant is often made of silicone or other pliable prefabricated material. Tiny sutures are used to close the incisions.
If the external approach is used, a very fine incision is made directly beneath the lower eyelash, within the natural crease of the eyelid. (Fig. B) The implant is positioned in the cheek area through this incision.
Sutures are removed within a week. Pain connected with the surgery is minimal to moderate and is controlled with oral medication. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection. Some temporary swelling and bruising of the face are to be expected; however, keeping the head slightly elevated when reclining and applying cold compresses may help reduce swelling. Chewing may be difficult for about two weeks, and tightness or numbness around the treated area may occur for a period of time. Brushing the teeth is often difficult for several days.
Complications of infection are rare; however, there are certain inherent risks connected with every surgical procedure which should be thoroughly discussed with the physician. Patients can minimize complications by carefully following directions given by the physician.
If you are interested in learning more about malar augmentation, please call our office and we will be happy to answer your questions.
Copyright © 1997 Contemporary Health Communications, Chesterfield, Missouri (Commercial use strictly prohibited)