Q: I am interested in cheek bone reduction surgery. I want to know if there are any permanent side effects or can they develop years later.
A: Reduction of prominent cheek bones is not nearly as common as augmentation or enhancement of deficient ones. Cheek bone reductions are almost always an ethnic request, usually commonly from patients with Asian or Pacific Rim heritages. Usually the concern is that the cheeks are too wide and the goal is to try and have a more narrow or ‘slimmer’ facial appearance.
Narrowing the cheek area is done by first understanding the shape of the bone. The zygoma (cheek bone per se) and the zygomatic arch (which extends back to attach to the temporal bone like a spanning bridge) together form the width of the middle part of the face back from the eye area. Reducing its width comes from cutting the bone (zygomatic osteotomies) at the two attachments of the bridge and allowing it to settle inward. Sometimes only the front part needs to be cut through the cheek bone itself. (done from inside the mouth) Other times the back part where the zygomatic arch attaches to the temple needs to be cut as well. (done from a small incision in the temple hair)
The biggest potential side effect or risk of the procedure is asymmetry, one side not being as far inward as the other. In theory, if the zygomatic arch goes in too far (unlikely), it may impinge on the masseter muscle causing some pain on oral opening and eating. (that I have never seen)
Dr. Barry Eppley