Cheek fillers are injected into the cheeks to either replace lost volume or enhance natural cheek volume.
As youths, most of us start with cheeks full of volume. Just think of little babies with those chubby little cheeks. As we age, our face grows into this volume, and it looks great in our 20’s and early 30’s.
Voluma for Cheek Augmentation
Cheek fillers were used in this patient primarily to enhance her natural volume and face shape.
By our mid 30’s, however, we start to lose volume in our faces due to changes in our skulls and the fat compartments in our face. Couple that with the fact that our skin is also losing elasticity, so that, it can’t shrink to fit its smaller size.
What we end up with is more skin than our face can support. Our skin begins to fall forward and down due to gravity and natural pivot points in our face. The end result is flattening of our cheeks and the accentuation of the parentheses and marionette lines (definitions of facial lines).
Cheek fillers are a great way to replace volume that is lost with age or to enhance the cheeks. Enhancing cheeks can bring the face closer to an inverted triangle shape which is widely considered attractive.
Injectables Used as Cheek Fillers
Sculptra is the most unique out of the bunch, as it works differently than the others. Sculptra stimulates and builds your own, natural collagen to add volume which is different from the others that primarily work by adding volume to visible plump the area.
Ultimately, there are many factors that contribute to the choice of filler that include cost, your injectors comfort with a particular product, and your timeline.
What Filling the Cheeks Can Do
Injecting fillers into the cheeks, obviously, makes them bigger. However, fillers can be used to strategically enlarge certain parts of the cheeks.
For example, we may use fillers to enhance the prominence of the cheekbone making the cheekbone appear stronger and higher. Other patients may need volume not only in the apex of their cheek but throughout the whole cheekbone. Restoring volume in this way may reduce the prominence of the parentheses and marionette lines (also called the nasolabial and melomental folds respectively).
We can also use fillers to soften the cheeks or to replace hollowness in the lower part of the cheeks. Sometimes our cheeks become too hollow as we age, and we look gaunt.
Filling Cheeks in Men vs. Women
Men and women are different (obvious, right?). For the most part, women tend to have softer cheeks. This is true even for women with chiseled features.
The apex of the cheek in men, on the other hand, tends to be located a little more centrally.
Understanding these differences is critical for achieving results that are both natural and appropriate.
The Injection Process
Prior to injecting, the face is studied thoroughly. We are looking for asymmetries, deficits, and areas of possible enhancement.
The cheeks are measured, cleansed and strategically marked. Then we inject. There is often only minimal discomfort during injection, and this can be reduced by using topical or locally injected anesthesia.
Sometimes cannulas are used depending on the situation. Cannulas are thin tubes that differ from needles in that they have a blunt tip.
Recovery After Cheek Injections
Physical discomfort after getting cheek fillers is usually minimal. Sometimes, there can be a bit of tightness, but it doesn’t really affect daily life.
It is possible to get a bruise which may take 7-10 days to resolve.
Cheek Filler Risks
As with all fillers, there are certain risks. Infection and injection into a blood vessel are the biggest risks. Fortunately, these are rare.
Many fillers we use for cheek augmentation can be dissolved. This is comforting to those patients who are not certain they will like their new look.
Quick Answers: Cheek Fillers
Who are the best candidates for cheek fillers?
Almost anyone who feels that their cheeks are hollow or who wants stronger, more defined cheekbones is a good candidate. All skin types can be treated.
How is Radiesse, Restylane Lyft, Juvederm Voluma, or Sculptra administered?
All of these products are injected directly into the areas to be filled. You see results with Radiesse, Restylane Lyft, and Juvederm Voluma immediately; although, there can be some swelling initially. Results with Sculptra take time to appear, and many patients require more than one treatment with Sculptra to obtain optimal results.
Do Radiesse, Restylane Lyft, Juvederm Voluma, or Sculptra injections hurt?
We mix anesthetic into the syringe and use ice packs, so discomfort is minimal.
How long does treatment take?
Usually about 20 minutes.
What is the recovery time?
Some patients will bruise as a result of treatment; however, most do not. If bruising occurs, it is usually minimal. Avoiding aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E, fish oil, and other non-prescription blood thinners will minimize the chance for bruising. Patients should avoid exaggerated facial movements for a day or two after injection.
How long do the results last?
Radiesse can last from 12 – 15 months. Some patients who received Juvederm Voluma in the clinical trials leading to FDA approval saw results that lasted up to 2 years, but most will get results that last 12-18 months. Restylane Lyft lasts 9-10 months when injected into cheeks. Sculptra can also last over 2 years.