Q: I want a fuller face with full cheeks. I have a very thin face that looks gaunt and sunken. It seems to be getting worse as I age. I think I need either cheek implants or fat injections but am not sure which is best. I have attached some pictures of my face for you to see and do some computer imaging to see what the possible changes would be. Thank you for your time.
A: Thank you for sending your photos. To do accurate imaging, however, a front and side view photo is needed in which one is not smiling. Your photos can not be used for any imaging as the smile obscures the whole process.
Otherwise, you have a type IV facial lipoatrophy condition with near complete loss of the buccal fat pads and most of the subcutaneous fat tissue. This gives you that sunken facial appearance. You would ideally benefit from a combination of submalar cheek implants combined with concentrated fat injections to the upper and lower submalar area as well as back along the side of the face. Given your thin face, it may well be that your body is equally thin so whether you have enough donor fat remains to be determined. With fat concentration techniques, one needs to harvest as least twice as much fat as the face requires. I would estimate that you need about 20cc of fat for each side of the face so it would take about 100cc of liposuctioned fat to do the job.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Hello, I have severe facial wasting. I am not an HIV patient, I had a normal plump face as a young child and by about the third grade my cheeks had completely sunken in and has given me a much older and skull-like appearance. I am only eighteen years old. I would like to have a procedure to correct this done this summer before I begin college in the fall. I would like to know if you handle this sort of procedure and what you would suggest to be done. I have attached some pictures with this e-mail inquiry.
A: Thank you for your inquiry and sending your pictures. You have a classic case of facial lipatrophy, type IV (type V is more consistent with HIV related facial lipoatrophy) Your history is classic for it as most patients convert from the plump face of childhood to a thinner more gaunt facial look during grade or intermediate school. Of the augmentation methods for treatment (implants and fat injections), I think you need a combination approach. I would place submalar cheek implants that specifically builds up the area right under the cheekbone known as the buccal area. This implant is placed through the mouth under the upper lip. Then I would do fat injections with Acell collagen particles to the area below the implants out into the side of the face and down to opposite the corners of the mouth. The goal is to add some fullness to the sides of your face and help reduce your more skeletonized appearance.
Dr. Barry Eppley