Best Way to Reverse Sunken Cheek Look Due to Weight Loss and Exercise?

Can losing body fat due to excessing working out and dieting cause sunken cheeks? If so, can it be somewhat reversed by putting weight back on? best methods? Or is Juvederm or another filler the only option? thanks

Doctor Answers 11

Cheek enhancement

A wide variety of facial implants are currently available for the enhancement of the skeletal elements of facial aesthetics. The most commonly used facial implants are used to enhance the profile of the chin and the cheeks. Facial implants very widely not only in shape and style, but also in terms of the materials from which they are fabricated.
My preference is to use structural fat grafting, as much as possible, to enhance facial features. In many cases, the need for a solid implant can be eliminated by the careful and meticulous grafting of a patient's own fat. While the incidence of complications with facial implants is not high, certain problems may develop which require implant removal including infection and implant migration. Bone resorption (bone loss) has also been reported below solid facial implants. Neither of these problems are an issue with structural fat grafting.
The only setting in which I currently use a solid facial implant is for chin implant augmentation. Some patients with a 'weak' chin profile can be adequately improved by structural fat grafting alone. However, when the chin protrusion needs to be enhanced by a half centimeter or more, a chin implant is absolutely required. I prefer to use a soft, flexible, anatomic chin implant that conservatively enhances the anterior projection of the chin in profile. The chin implant is placed through an incision hidden underneath the chin, an area where many people already have a scar from a fall in childhood.
Moderate enhancement of chin projection in appropriate patients can dramatically enhance the profile, in a manner that is completely natural-appearing. It is remarkable how increasing chin prominence in some patients will reduce the apparent prominence of the nose, and restore an overall sense of harmony and balance to facial features.
For enhancement of the cheek bone area, I rely exclusively on structural fat grafting. Careful and meticulous fat grafting not only avoids some of the potential complications of solid cheek implants, but it also allows more precise 'customization' of the aesthetic improvement that can be obtained for each individual patient. It is also my opinion that structural fat grafting produces a more natural-appearing enhancement of the cheek area than what is generally achieved through the placement of solid implants over the cheekbone.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

10941 Raven Ridge Rd
Raleigh, NC 27614

Sunken Cheek Correction

Just about any filler would work to correct sunken cheeks from any cause including Voluma, Juvederm, Radiesse, Sculptra and others. Fat transfer is also a viable option with more permanence. 

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

3991 MacArthur Boulevard
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Adding Fullness to the Cheeks after Weight Loss

This is a great question. First, make sure that you have achieved a healthy and stable weight before seeking cosmetic enhancements.  Second, there are a variety of options. These include fillers (such as Juvederm or Radiesse), Sculptra (a unique type of filler treatment that results in volumization over a series of injections), fat grafts from the abdomen (autologous fat grafting or micro-lipoinjection), and finally, placement of implants. For the hollow cheek area, underneath the cheekbones, a submalar or combined malar-submalar implant can be an ideal, and permanent, solution. Best of luck!

Evan Ransom, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

450 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA 94108

Sunken eyes, sunken cheeks, from weight loss and working out.

Working out, running and losing weight often first cause loss of cheek and facial fat.  This fat is often the first to return when we gain weight.

Assuming that you are happy with your weight and condition you have several options.

Fat injections work 2/3 of the time and can give long lasting correction to gaunt cheeks, the hollows below the eyelids and the lips.

Sculptra an injectable collagen stimulator can fill out hollowed temples, cheeks, lower eyelid troughs, laugh and smile lines.  Two treatments usually last up to two years.

Artefil a long lasting filler is a good choice for long lasting results.  Initially somewhat more pricey, two treatments will usually suffice for years of improvement.

Fillers such as Perlane, Juvederm and Radiesse are quick and easy but will cost more in the long run as they don't last as much.  Cheers

Luis A. Cenedese, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

30 Central Park South
New York City, New York


Exercise and dieting can definitely cause sunken cheeks.  This is very common in the area underneath the lower eyelid in the main portion of the cheek and in the temple region.  It can be reversed by putting weight back on, however I do not suggest this. 


When you put weight back on you cannot guide where the fat will deposit and you may wind up putting fat back on to your abdomen, legs and buttocks instead of in your face.  The best treatment I have found for this area would be injection of Rejuviderm or even fat transfer to the face.  This can typically be done either in the office or under IV sedation. 

Please visit my website for more pictures.

Thank you,


J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

9735 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Sunken Hollow Gaunt Cheeks

Yes, losing weight can create a sunken, hollow look to the Cheek area especially in women over 40. Sculptra works great to fill in hollow and depressed areas and can be combined with Radiesse or Perlane if shape and contour is also required.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

8500 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

How to correct sunken cheeks


Patients today have multiple options when correcting sunken cheeks or loss of volume in the face. Two good injection options include Radiesse and Sculptra. Radiesse is a dermal filler that can be injected into the face to improve volume and help diminish deep facial lines. Sculptra is a medicine that can be injected into the face but must be done through several sessions. Sculptra will attract water into these areas and help correct these deformities. For a more permanent solution, fat injections may also be used to recontouring face. Keep in mind that whenever we inject fat into another part of the body approximately 20% of that will melt away. For this reason, it is necessary to add a little bit extra fat than you would like to remain. This is a delicate procedure in the face as a small amount of volume will create a big difference. For this reason it is very important that you work with a board-certified plastic surgeon who is a great deal of experience in fat injection to the face.

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

848 Brickell Avenue
Miami, FL 33131

Filler or cheek implants

Losing body fat can cause the cheeks to be sunken due to buccal fat pad atrophy. It takes a lot of filler products to be able to restore volume in the cheeks. Sculptra would be one option; however, it is only temporary. Cheek implants can be placed in this area and offer an excellent augmentation for sunken and hollow cheekbones permanently. For many examples, please see the link below to our cheek implant photo gallery

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

1101 Madison St
Seattle, WA 98104

Fillers, Fat Grafting, Cheek Implants, Weight Gain are options

Most people don't want to gain weight back just to add some cheek volume. Non-surgical options include injectables with longer-lasting options of Radiesse (~ 1 yr) or Sculptra (~ off label; 2 yrs) being our preferred methods. Fat transfer represents a minimally invasive option, but it comes with at least 7-10 days of downtime and you may require more than just 1 treatment. Cheek implants are powerful and permanent, but surgical. They are placed through the inside of the mouth. Cheek implants come in various sizes and styles to fit the patients specific needs. After weight loss, it is commonly the submalar hollow (below the cheek bone itself) that requires most of volume.

Frank P. Fechner, MD
Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

428 Shrewsbury Street
Worcester, MA 01604

Weight loss will affect your face

If you lose enough weight your face will look thinner, perhaps hollow or even gaunt if the weight loss is severe. Other than gaining the weight back which wouldn't be the best option, you could consider several possible alternatives. Surgical treatments would include fat injections or cheek implants. Non-surgical options would include fillers such as Radiesse (longer lasting) or Restylane.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

1135 116th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.