Q: Dr. Eppley, thank you for the great fat grafting done to my cheeks a few weeks ago. It has helped a lot and I know that it is too early to tell how much fat will survve. But should a significant or at least enough fat go way that I want more at the three month time after the surgery, would you be able to go in and get more fat to put into that cheek? I was looking at some publications by Coleman and it appears that it is OK to inject more into the face after a three month waiting period. Also, is it true that you can extract a lot of fat and then freeze it for use in future treatments? What does the literature say about this type of procedure?
A: Secondary fat grafting can be done anytime after the initial procedure. The reason that the three month time period is given is so that one has enough time to fully appreciate how much fat has taken. Three months is the generally accepted time period to see the balance between what fat has died and been absorbed and how much has survived…thus making the final achieved contour change visible. Harvested fat can be stored in a frozen state for future use. Despite its appeal, however, the medical literature indicates that the thawed and re-injected fat quickly undergoes complete resorption. While not completely understood, the freezing and thawing process apparently is very detrimental to fat cells. (adipocytes)
Dr. Barry Eppley
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