Cheek Reduction Result

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have heard that you are very famous for your knowledge of face bone surgery from my friends in China. I would like to ask you some questions. I posted my question on Real Self and a Chinese version of Real Self but got no response.

I got cheekbone reduction surgery in China 1o months ago. The doctor used L cut method and hidden hair incision to cut my zygoma bone and move the zygoma bones inward. Then titanium screws were used to secure it.

I was very happy with my recovery. I went to my 3 month and 6 month check up with no problems and that was the end of my meetings with my surgeon. I read on your website, that if skin sagging didn’t happen by 6 months, it should be safe to expect no skin sagging after. However, I’ve been having a problem this month.

It’s been just over 10 months since my surgery. BUT. starting from the 8.5 month time, I started realizing my face is drooping. I’ve attached pictures of my face now. My face was completely sag-free until the 8.5 month mark.

Now my cheeks are bottom heavy and fleshy and look swollen. There’s puffy flesh/skin around my nose which makes it look like I have a lot of fat and have nasal labial lines. I also have lines from my mouth to my chin area. This was not happening at the 6 month time so I thought the surgery was a success.

Can you please explain why this is happening so long after the surgery time. I was very very happy with the result after 8 months, and only then did my face start to droop. I am 24 years old. What can I do to fix this?

A: While most patients are ‘safe’ from tissue sag by the six month time period, the ultimate test is at the 9 month to one year mark. This is when the full effects of tissue contraction become most apparent. So to not have developed it until 8 or 9 months after surgery is not that rare.

It is important to remember that all cosmetic surgery has tradeoffs. While it is not uncommon, this is one of the tradeoffs of cheekbone reduction surgery. Soft tissue suspensions methods are now needed if you desire improvements. 

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana