Do Cheek Implant Risks Differ Depending on Which Bone is Augmented?

Hi All, There are a few horror stories on the internet about cheek implants. I'm wondering if these risks are significantly different by bone. I've heard of malar, submalar and infraorbital implants? Are there other bones that are augmented? Do the risks of complication (pain, inability to smile, disfigurement, etc.) differ depending on which bone gets the implant? Similarly, does recovery time differ much depending on which bone gets the implant? Thanks for your help!

Doctor Answers 5

Facial implant risks.

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 Excellent and somewhat complicated question. I personally use implantech malar implants ( conform variety ) and trim them down as needed. They are very safe and easily placed along the malar bone. I do not go out very lateral or over the jug-handle area as I do not like the look of augmentation here and the risk of nerve injury is increased. I do not use infraorbital or submalar implants because I get a great result and all the mid-face augmentation I need with standard Malar implants. Cheek (malar) implants are very safe but a surgeon needs experience in the proceedure to do it well and most surgeons are not experienced in this and do not do the proceedure. I have done over 200 cheek implants proceedures with a zero complication rate in the past 25 years.

Complication cheek implants.

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Silicone and other solid implants tend to migrate as they are difficult to fixate securely in some areas.  The closer the implant is placed to the eyelids the more swelling typically ensues.

Artefill or Fat injections are usually associated with less complications and undesirable results.

Please Consult in person with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon prior to making any treatment decisions

Luis A. Cenedese, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

Cheek implant risks for different bones

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When malar, submalar, or infraorbital implants are placed, they are all placed directly on top of the bone.  All three areas are in close proximity, so when they are placed, it's just a matter of making the pocket for the implant over the area to be augmented.  With all three implants, there is risk to injuring a sensory nerve on the cheek, which could lead to numbness.  I would not say that there would be a significant difference in recovery or risk between the three different types of implants.  There may be different risks with an infraorbital implant if it is placed externally.  Malar and submalar implants are normally placed intraorally.   

Michael I. Echavez, MD
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

There are a number of different shape cheek implants depending on what is needed

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Cheek implants come in many shapes and sizes. What is best for you really depends on what you are looking to enhance. I often like to start with facial fillers to simulate what is to be augmented before actually doing cheek implants. There are malar (cheek) implants for enhanced cheekbones, sub-malar implants for hollow faces and combined for overall volume increase. Implants can also be used to enhance the rim of the eye sockets. You should discuss your goals with a facial plastic surgery expert to see what is best for you.

As an aside, I find that fillers replacing implants more and more since they are quick and can be tweaked or added to as needed.

Steven J. Pearlman, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 134 reviews

Do cheek implant risks differ?

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all three of these areas still fall under the designation of "cheek implants" so the risks and recovery are similar for all. Chin, jaw and orbit are other areas that are implanted that have similar but different risks and recovery.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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.