How Can I Best Fill In My Lower Cheeks?

Q:  Hi Dr. Eppley, I am interested in filling in my lower cheeks.  They are sunken in and I have had multiple fillers from Radiesse, Juvederm etc for years. I am tired of it looking really good for 2 weeks due to swelling and then having it all disappear and look the same within the month.  Do you ever do a tissue fill on the lower cheeks?  I had one doctor do filler one time on the upper cheeks and I hated it. I looked like cat woman and I don’t like that look. I just want to fill in the bottom cheeks. I’m afraid to put in an implant because of the risk of crooked smiling. What do you suggest?

A:  The area below the cheeks is known as the submalar triangle which extends from below the cheekbone down (in an upside down triangle) to below the side of the mouth. It is important to appreciate that this area is not supported by underlying bone. This is why anyone with a thin face or fat loss will show an indentation in this area and create a ‘gaunt’ look. This also means that there is no type of a bone-based facial implant providing any fullness to this area.

While synthetic injectable fillers will produce some temporary fullness, they are not a long-term solution to this area of soft tissue facial deficiency. The next logical approach is that of fat injections. While they offer at least the potential for some long-term retention, they are also plagued by potential resorption. I have mixed these fat injections with PRP (platelet-rich plasma) for facial injections and feel that this combination does offer better results. But the risk of near to complete resorption still exists. No one can predict how well fat injections will persist in any particular patient.

The remaining good alternative is that of dermal grafts. Using allogeneic dermal grafts, they can be put it in sheets and layers. They can nicely built up an area and are very soft. They are human collagen which will eventually be replaced by your own tissue. They can be put in through a limited facelift incision. Their long-term volume retention is much more assured than fat injections.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana