Can My Wide Cheekbones Be Made More Narrow?

Q: Hello Doctor, I am 18 years of age, an Asian Chinese and I have big cheekbones. It was almost twice the size of the other people and that makes my face looking round and unpleasant big. I’ve read articles about cheek implants but I was wondering if there is a surgery that reduce the cheeks size, the best case scenario, to make it look flatter? Thanks in advance for helping me.

A: When you are referring to big cheekbones, you are undoubtably referring to them being too wide. Big in cheekbones invariably refers to how far they stand out from the side of one’s face. Wide and prominent cheekbones are most common in Asians as their genetic face tends to be less projected forward (horizontally) and more projected to the side. (wide)

Cheekbone reduction surgery can be done and understanding how it is done requires a knowledge of the bony anatomy of the face. The front part of the cheekbone is a fairly solid bone that is partially made up of bone from the side of the eye socket. This is the location, for example, where cheek implants are placed to make the cheek more full. But the part of the cheek that makes it wide is known as the zygomatic arch which acts as a span of thin bone that arcs out from the cheekbone in front to the temple bone in back. How much this piece of bone arcs determines how wide the cheek bones appears. Cutting the attachments of the cheekbone from the side of the eye socket and the back part where it attached to the temporal bone allows it to fall in. It falls inward (less wide) because not only are the bone attachments cut but there are muscles attached to it that help to pull it in also.

While cheekbone reduction surgery sounds drastic, it is done from inside the mouth with small bone-cutting instruments.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana