Will Cheek Implants Help Make My Acne Scars Look Better?

Q: I am a 40 year old male with medium acne scars over my cheeks While I have acne scars other places, these are the most bothersome to me. Will cheek implants help lessen the acne scars and be a good anti-aging step?

A: Acne scars come in a variety of shapes which determines what procedures may be helpful for them. Surgery by excision is the preferred approach, for example, of the classic ‘ice-pick’ acne scar because of its depth. No superficial treatment of a deep acne scar, such as laser resurfacing, will work.

Many of the most troubling acne scars over the cheek area tend to be the ‘saucer-shaped’ variety. These are larger, less deep, acne scars that do resemble a saucer or a moon crater. They still are too deep to respond well to laser resurfacing (taking down the edges will not usually work) and their larger surface area causes a noticeable contour deformity. These are the type of acne scars that can respond well to injectable fillers as the problem is loss of skin dermis (thickness) and some subcutaneous fat. They represent a true volume deficient problem.

While injectable fillers can work for cheek acne scars, it is not unreasonable to consider the push of an underlying cheek implant. By pushing out from the bone, the expanded underlying tissues can help ‘fill out’ some of the saucer-shaped skin depression. I have done this a few times and do find it helpful. The existing size of the cheek area should be considered as the trade-off of a flatter acne scar for an overbuilt cheek may not be worth that trade-off.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana