Can My Bigger Cheek Bone Be Surgically Reduced in Size?

Q:  Hi, it was so interesting reading your thoughts on cheekbone reduction surgery after a facial injury. I have some questions about almost the same problem. My right cheekbone is bigger than the left one and it is growing bigger. When I look at two year old photos you can see a big difference. I was in a car accident about 15 years ago and hit the right side of face on the dashboard of the car. Is it possible to have some sort of surgery?

A: While cheek bone injuries are common from many types of trauma, they are largely that of fractures and displacement. Secondary reconstruction is often needed to bring out a cheek bone that is too flat or has inadequate projection. The reverse problem, overgrowth or too much projection of a cheek bone is very rare. The presumed cause is that a hematoma has developed above or around the bone, stimulating some bone deposition or ‘growth’. Depending upon the dimension of the cheek bone overgrowth, surgery can be done to reduce. Shaving of the cheekbone is always possible but is not usually my preferred technique unless the overgrowth area can be precisely identified. It is far more common to do a cheek osteotomy and remove a vertical wedge of bone to allow it to move inward. A very helpful diagnostic tool is a 3-D CT scan. This allows one to study the shape of the cheekbones on both sides and determine the exact location of what is making the bigger cheek bone look the way it does. This allows for a precise surgical procedure for bone reduction to be planned.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana