Cheek Lift and Lower Lids

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The lower lids and cheek are an interrelated facial unit and must often be approached together surgically. The lower lids become stretched and lengthened as the cheek tissues slide downward toward the nose and mouth. Without the need for visible incisions, the curves of the cheeks can be restored and the tired appearance of the lower lids can be eliminated. Patients often feel that this single procedure does more to restore their attractiveness than any other single technique.

A cheek lift or mid-facelift is a procedure to combat the effects that aging has on the cheeks and lower eyelids. As people age, the fat that forms the structure of the face drifts downward. Fat deposits that used to sit on the cheekbones when we were younger now falls towards the nose and mouth. This results in flatter cheeks and deeper folds around the nose and mouth. It can even push tissues down over the corners of the mouth, contributing a sad or angry look. Furthermore, this drifting of the structures in the cheeks often stretches the lower eyelids, making them appear sunken or tired.

In combating these problems, a cheek lift is far more effective than a facelift or other facial plastic surgery procedures that simply stretch the skin because it actually restores the fullness of the cheeks. A facelift concentrates on areas lower in the face. Pulling on the skin contributes to the flattening effect; it doesn’t solve it.

The cheek lift relieves the skin of the weight of the sagging fat and puts it back in position to actually support the skin. Through incisions above the gumline in the mouth and in the scalp, the fat is pulled upwards underneath the skin, and sutured into place on the cheekbones. The skin of the cheeks and lower eyelids no longer feels the weight, and springs back into place. The skin of the lower eyelids can then be resurfaced with a laser to remove fine wrinkles and promote new collagen. The beauty of the cheek lift is that it is more conservative than a facelift but has more effective results in the important mid-face region.

A cheek lift can be performed in conjunction with a brow lift, blepharoplasty, facelift, or neck lift by Dr. Mark Richards to address these problem areas as well.

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Candidates for a Cheek Lift

Effects of aging that a cheek lift is likely to be able to improve include:

  • Creases around the nose and mouth that have grown progressively deeper
  • Cheeks that have become flatter
  • A sunken appearance of the skin under the eyelid region
  • Downturned skin at the corners of the mouth
  • Indentations in the upper cheeks

Typical cheek lift patients are thirty years old and up, although heredity, exposure to the sun, and dramatic changes in weight are all factors in facial appearance. Please contact the Ageless Impressions Plastic Surgery Institute for a consultation with Mark E. Richards, M.D. to see if you are a cheek lift candidate or to learn more about other facial plastic surgery techniques.

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Preparing for Cheek Lift Surgery

Patients consult with the cheek lift surgeon ahead of time to make a plan for the procedure. The surgeon evaluates the patient’s general health, facial characteristics, and skin tone. Other important factors to discuss are whether or not the patient smokes; what medications, if any, he or she is taking; and what facial products he or she is using. The cheek lift surgeon usually wants to discuss the patient’s expectations to see that they are realistic.

The surgeon sometimes suggests one of several methods of conditioning the cheeks and lower eyelids to prepare them for cheek lift surgery. This may improve recovery time as well as results.

Finally, the patient ought to purchase any items that he or she may need during the recovery from cheek lift surgery. This may include prescription drugs or other necessities.

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Cheek Lift Surgery

Usually, a cheek lift is performed as an outpatient at a hospital or surgery center under general anesthesia, and takes about two hours to complete.

The cheek lift begins with a few small incisions inside the mouth and above the hairline, near the temples. These latter incisions are made with minimal effect to the hair follicles. Through these access points, the skin, fat and muscle of the cheeks is loosened away from the underlying boney structure. Cheek tissue that has shifted downward on the face is then repositioned and sewn in place, and the incisions sewn up. Antibiotic ointment is applied to the incisions in the scalp.

Laser skin resurfacing can then be used on the skin of the lower eyelids. In addition to removing old skin, the laser shrinks the skin tissue that remains to tighten and smooth it. Alternatively, a lower blepharoplasty with eyelid fat repositioning can be performed.

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Post Cheek Lift Surgery

The cheeks usually feel swollen and numb right after cheek lift surgery, though there is usually little pain. The lower eyelids may be red from laser skin resurfacing, but they will slowly fade back to a more natural color over the next week or so. Keeping the head elevated and using cold compresses regularly over the next few days after cheek lift surgery helps reduce swelling and bruising. The patient sometimes experiences numbness in the upper lip, which resolves over time.

You will receive instructions on how to wash the face, hair, and rest of the body in the days immediately after surgery. Antibiotics are used during cheek lift surgery, and are prescribed after surgery to prevent infection. Practicing good oral hygiene keeps the stitches in the mouth clean. These stitches dissolve, while the ones in the scalp are removed ten to fourteen days after cheek lift surgery.

It is usually best to avoid medications containing aspirin, ibuprofen, or Vitamin E for two weeks before and after surgery, as these make bruising worse.

It is usually best to refrain from strenuous activity for a few weeks after cheek lift surgery. It is also important to protect the skin from exposure to the sun after a cheek lift.

After a few weeks, the swelling goes down, the bruising disappears, and the patient can usually begin to see the results of the cheek lift procedure. It may be a few months before residual swelling subsides to reveal the full effects, though the facial aesthetic usually shows improvement by two weeks or sooner!

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Cheek Lift FAQs

Q: How does a cheek lift help when I’m already having a facelift?
A: A facelift mostly affects the lower portion of the face and the neck. It does not significantly improve the flattening cheeks or the sagging skin around the nose and corners of the mouth. That is the specific purpose of a cheek lift.

Q: Will the recovery period for a cheek lift be similar to that for a facelift?
A: Because the skin is not pulled and trimmed during a cheek lift, the recovery is shorter and easier than it is for a facelift. However, the patient may feel cheek swelling for weeks after it is not noticeable to others.

Q: Will the fact that I have had cosmetic facial surgery be obvious to others?
A: A cheek lift gives the face a refreshed look without visible incisions. Because the change is not distorting, friends and acquaintances are more likely to perceive you as happier or more energetic than they are to suspect surgery.

Q: How long will the results last?
A: The aging process will continue, and the cheeks may begin to sag again over the course of some years. However, refraining from smoking, long exposure to the sun, and sudden changes in weight will make the effects last longer and probably well over a decade!

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Schedule Your Consultation

The cheeklift procedure, if done properly, leaves virtually no noticeable scarring. Satisfactory results can be achieved with little invasion and a relatively short recovery period. To learn more about how a cheek lift can take your look back in time, contact us today. Our friendly staff at the Ageless Impressions Plastic Surgery Institute will be happy to help you schedule a consultation with Mark E. Richards, M.D.