How Long Does A Cheek Lift Last?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am wondering if you could perhaps further explain how exactly a cheek lift lasts – and by that I mean how it permanently elevates the cheeks? I am confused on how it works. You mentioned that the tissues are elevated and suspended. Are the sutures used always dissolvable, or are they sometimes permanent? 

It is assumed that during the months following the cheek lift, the tissues reattach to the bone in a higher position. Is this inevitable and natural for the body because of the sutures lifting the tissue or can it ever “not” happen ? Do some of the tissues ever not reattach in the upright position over that period? 

After the sutures dissolve over a period of time (assuming dissolvable sutures are used), what ensures that the tissues just do not fall back down? What if some did not attach before the sutures dissolved?

The second doctor I consulted with stated that since in his experience he has never re-done a patient’s cheek lift and he has been doing them for thirteen years, it should last me a minimum of ten years. He stated that I will age at a natural rate after the cheek lift. However, I have read dissimilar answers on Realself where other doctors have stated that it can last a mere 3 years! What is your general estimate on longevity? Would I age any faster or would my tissues fall faster having had the cheek lift done or are the effects of aging unknown?

A: The exact lifespan of any cheek lift can not be precisely predicted and is dependent on why it was done, age of the patient, how they genetically age and the technique used. Thus no average number of years can really be accurately stated for cheek lifts.

A cheek lift is a subperiosteal tissue elevation and resuspension. (which makes it quite different than that of a facelift for example and ore similar to that of a browlift) In theory, its initial stability is held by the sutures but the healing of the tissues is ultimately what holds it elevated. Therefore the use of permanent sutures offers no advantages long term over dissolveable sutures and runs the risk of suture reactions later if non-resorbable sutures are used.

Once the cheek tissues have healed, how they age is going to be reflective of the natural aging process of the patient and how the cheeks may have aged (dropped) had the procedure not been done. Think of a cheek lift as restorative to what you were before the cheek implants. How the cheeks may age could be better than had nothing ever been done since they would be further elevated than had the cheek implants never been placed.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indian