Malar vs. Submalar Implants for Cheek Enhancement

Q: I want to get implants to have higher looking cheekbones. What is the difference between malar and submalar cheek implants? Which would be better for me?

A: In considering cheek augmentation, or enhancement of the midface, there are a wide variety of cheek implant styles from which to choose. Gone are the days when only a single design of a cheek implant existed. One of the different style designs is between malar and submalar implants. Malar is another word meaning cheek. So a malar implant sits on top of the existing cheekbone, providing more cheek projection. A submalar implant, however, sites on the cheekbone’s bottom edge providing increased fullness to the area below the cheekbone.

Submalar cheek implants have actually been around for some time and were developed to help with midface sagging from aging. As we age, cheek tissue slides or falls off of the cheekbone. One way to help lift it and restore more youthful fullness is with the submalar implant. The other option would be a midface lift, a more extensive operation with an increased risk of complications.

When most patients are considering cheek enhancement, they are usually thinking of higher cheekbones and more fullness to the bone right beneath the eye. Cheek implants come in a variety of designs to achieve this fullness and they differ in whether the most fullness in the implant is anterior, central, or posterior along the cheekbone. To choose the best implant style for you, you need to go over carefully with your plastic surgeon your exact concerns and what areas of the cheek you would like to be bigger. Most dissatisfaction with cheek implants occur because of style and size selections.

Dr. Barry Eppley