I am 47 years old and I have developed malar edema. It sits right above my cheekbones and will not go away. Should I find out if there is an underlying health condition before I go to a plastic surgeon and if so, what type of tests should be done? Thanks
What Causes Water Retention Under my Eyes?
Doctor Answers 10
"Water Retention" Myth
Fluid retention under eyes
I know how frustrating your condition can be. As stated by the other doctors checking for a familial predisposition should shed some light as to the cause. However, I have found this problem to be what we as doctors call, multifactorial (many things can lead to it). You should check with your primary doctor if any medical condition can be adding to the problem (something that would cause you to retain salt).
As far as treatment options. Surgery can aggravate the condition and cause more or new fluid retention. Mechanical compression with tape at night, etc. is very unpredictable if at all helpful. Some of the more aggressive lasers which remodel the skin and deeper tissue have shown some success - but with prolonged recovery. I and some colleagues have attempted inserting a metal probe (insulated) to the area and applying heat to shrink and tighten the tissue and reduce fluid. This is generally benign and has had variable success.
I think a consultation with a specialist is worthwhile so the tissue can be seen and felt.
Best of luck
Water Retention and Eye Bags
Hi Lisa Bone,
Eye bags have multiple causes, with each having various contributions to facial appearance. Bags are commonly due to eye fat which protrudes a little from the eye socket, in addition to sagging eyelid skin & muscle or edema. One also looses facial fat in the skin & cheeks from age. Weight fluctuations will affect eye bag appearance. Allergies and hormonal conditions will affect eye & cheek bags too. Lastly, water retention will affect the face from such factors as diet, medication, heart, or kidney conditions.
You may start with a visit with your primary care physician, or seek the opinion from a plastic surgeon. After a comprehensive evaluation can a specialist help determine the cause of your specific eye bags and provide some treatment options. Best of luck.
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Fluid retention lower eyelids and cheeks "malar bags"
Malar bags are small sacks of edema that accumulate over the cheek bones in people who are genetically predisposed to have it occur. You can try and cut down on your salt intake and see if they improve. There are no surgical ways to reliably decrease malar bags...but I have been successful in people who are also candidates for Cheek Augmentation, by improvong the Cheek Shape with Cheek Implants that camouflage the malar bags.
Consider seeing an oculoplastic surgeon.
There is what doctors call a differential diagnosis for malar swelling. However, for many this change is associated with aging and family genetics. So if all the women of your family have a similar issue as they age, that is most likely the answer. Yet there are other possible causes so if the malar festoon is newly acquired and not a feature of your family, a consultation to address possible medical causes is reasonable.
Eye bags, circles and demarcation
There are many causes of eye bags. Some are shadow issues, some are discoloration issues. If anything you could have your thyroid levels and a hemoglobin check. Fortunately this is likely just the result of living life! Below are some common causes and treatments.
1. Prolapsed orbital fat through the orbital septum: treated with lower lid blepharoplasty and fat re-positioning. Can also be helped with fillers or auto fat transfer to the face but the ideal treatment in my hands is surgery for this issue.
2. Ezcema: much more common in young people with fair skin. The treatment for this is to hold off on makeup and any manipulation of the lower lid for a few weeks and try some topical anti inflammatory creams. If you have allergies those should be treated also. A dermatologist is the best person to see for this. We have a multidisciplinary clinic with myself, a plastic surgeon, and my partner, a dermatologist which I think is ideal!
3. Fluid accumulation and/or redundant skin. Could be possible in young patients but would need a good facial analysis and exam to determine. A low salt diet (< 1000mg/day) and a warm compress can help. I would consider treating with filler/fat transfer, lower lid fractional ablative laser and/or lower lid blepharoplasty.
4. Descent of midface cheek pad. This then causes the nasojugular ligament to become more prominent creating a demarcation and separation of the eye from the cheek subunit. Treated with mid face lift and fat transfer.
It is all about the balance of this transition from the orbit to the cheek. There are many ways to treat this and they vary by the underlying cause. I recommend seeing a surgeon who also does a lot of these treatments. This can make a big difference as most people have a combination of the above that lead to the issue.
Hope this helps.
Best of luck,
Multiple causes of water retention
There is a variety of possible causes for water retention, including diet, allergies, and genetics, so yes, consult your doctor about your overall health and likely causes. Afterwards, see a certified, experienced plastic surgeon.
Malar Edema (under eye swelling)
Under eye bags
Under eye swelling can be contributed to by allergies, alcohol consumption as well as herniation (or bulging) of orbital fat deposits. Making sure all allergies and external causes of swelling (alcohol intake, etc) are addressed prior to any interventions you elect is really important. It's totally reasonable to start with your PCP prior to seeing a plastic surgeon.
Best of luck in reaching your goals