How Is Cheek Shaving Done?

Q: How is cheek shaving done and what effect does it have on the face?

A: Cheekbone reduction is done to either reduce a prominent anterior zygomatic prominence or to help narrow the width of the face in the cheek area. It can be done through either a cheek shaving technique or cheek (zygomatic) osteotomies. Cheek shaving is best used to reduce an isolated anterior zygomatic prominence. While it will result in some narrowing of the front part of the cheek, it is not a good procedure to make a big difference in the width of the face which is composed of the body of the zygoma and the entire length of the zygomatic arch. Cheek shaving is done from an intraoral incision and a burr is used to take down the projection of the zygomatic buttress from the lower lateral edge of the orbital rim down to the lower edge of the zygomatic buttress where the masseteric tendon attaches. Conversely, cheek osteotomies are more extensive and use a ‘front to back’ approach. Bone cuts (osteotomies) are made through the zygomatic buttress anteriorly and the attachment of the back end of the zygomatic arch to the temporal bone. This requires a small incision in the temporal scalp as well as from inside the mouth. This allows the whole length of the zygomatic bone to move inward, thus creating a narrowing effect in the width of the face. These two cheek procedures use different surgical techniques that result in degrees of cheekbone reduction. The selection of either technique is based on the anatomy of the patient and what their specific midface goals are.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana