What Are The Potential Complications From Cheek Implants?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I’m sure a surgeon at your level is capable of the best possible cheek augmentation results. However, for cheek implants performed in general, I am a little concerned about having found an average self-reported procedure satisfaction rating of only about 60% from this site called Realself. Could you tell me more about satisfaction-levels and potential complications for these procedures? Could they affect the shape of the nose?

A: It does not surprise me that the satisfaction rating for cheek implants is around 60% or roughly two-thirds of the patients that took the time to register their experience. While it is an apparently ‘simple’ procedure, it can be plaqued by problems of implant asymmetry and an inability to have achieved the desired cheek augmentation effects. It is important to remember that all facial implants, cheek implants included, are based on styles that presumably fit the average person. Often these implant styles, in my opinion, are dated and may not reflect contemporary aesthetic objectives. Thus surgeons are relegated to using cheek implant styles that are not really specific to the patient’s anatomy and may not always have a realistic chance to achieve the patient’s cheek augmentation goals. But plastic surgeons may due with what they are provided and try to get the result with the cheek implants that are available.

It is also important to note that cheek implants are paired unlike a chin implant which is singular. Since they must be placed independently and without full view of either one at the same time, the potential risks of implant asymmetry are increased.

Lastly, there is no training manual or intuitive aesthetic ability for plastic surgeons to knowing how to pick a cheek implant style and size. Cheeks, unlike chins, are more than just a single horizontal measurement seen in just one profile view. (which is how most plastic surgeons simplistically see the chin…unfortunately) Rather the shape of the cheeks is truly a three-dimensional structure (with four different aesthetic zones) where number and measurements do not help in knowing how to make a successful cheek augmentation change.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana