Cheek Lift vs. Dermal Fillers: Which is Right for Me?

The lower eyelids, the cheeks, the lips and the corners of the mouth occupy the middle area of the face. It is common for this area to begin showing signs of age and volume loss that have an unflattering effect on the entire facial aesthetic. 

Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options that can address cosmetic concerns in the mid-facial area and create a much more youthful and revitalized appearance. Cheek lift surgery or injectable deep fillers are two of the most effective options. Deciding which treatment may serve as an ideal solution depends upon the specific facial contour concerns present, as well as the balance of goals regarding appearance, recovery, and costs you hope to achieve. This short blog post will highlight several distinctions between cheek lift surgery and cheek contour fillers to address the aging mid-face. 


Cheek Lift 

A cheek lift can address the descent of cheek tissue that occurs over time. When the fat in this area atrophies, it tends to drift downward along the face, pulling the skin with it. This ultimately has an aging effect on the appearance of the entire mid-face, which includes the cheeks, the lower eyelids, and the mouth area. Paradoxically, the signs of volume loss in the cheeks include the development of under-eye bags and large nasolabial folds (“parentheses lines”), as well as the development of jawline jowls. Cheek lift surgery quite literally lifts the cheek tissues by repositioning the underlying deep tissues to their original locations. This restores the cheeks to a more youthful contour, in addition to minimizing nasolabial folds and raising the corners of the mouth. In cases where the lower eyelid skin is stretched and without much elasticity, Dr. Mark Richards may recommend combining cheek lift with laser skin resurfacing to address that concern. Cheek lift requires general anesthesia and surgical incisions; however, scars from this procedure are in hidden locations in the scalp and inside the mouth. The results from cheek lift surgery typically last for over 15 years.


Dermal Fillers 

Certain types of dermal fillers and collagen stimulators are distinctly formulated to address loss of facial volume. In fact, products such as Restylane® Lyft, Restylane® Defyne, RADIESSE®, and Sculptra® Aesthetic are particularly useful for enhancing contour in the cheeks and mid-facial areas, as well as lifting the mouth corners. Deep dermal and subdermal treatments can often be an ideal solution for patients who would like to avoid surgery for as long as possible, as well as for individuals who would like to experience a more “temporary” treatment in order to see how enhancement in the mid-facial area can benefit them. During the procedure, the chosen injectable product is delicately injected into the facial areas targeted for rejuvenation. The product utilized, the number of injections necessary, and the precise regions of the face that are treated is carefully planned out beforehand to produce optimal and natural results. Non-surgical facial contour treatments require no surgery or general anesthesia. The results of filler and collagen stimulator injections are often excellent for those with early to moderate midfacial atrophy.  


Compare and Contrast

One important difference between cheek lift surgery and dermal filler treatment is the projected length of results. A cheek lift can produce outcomes that last for decades. Dermal fillers are not capable of creating results that last that long, though some patients are able to achieve outcomes that last for up to two years. Sculptra®, which stimulates your tissues to produce collagen, can give results that last over 4 years. 

Another consideration is whether the facial fat atrophy is advanced to the point that there is not enough tissue to surgically lift for contour creation. In these cases, Sculptra® Aesthetic is used in a series of injections to build up the soft tissue volume either alone or in preparation for a cheek lift. 

While a long-lasting surgical procedure like cheek lift will require a period of downtime, this is not the case with dermal filler treatments. Most patients can go back to their normal daily routines the day following the procedure. To minimize the ever-present risk of bruising, patients should ideally refrain from aspirin and all NSAIDs such as Aleve®, Ibuprofen, Voltaren, etc. for 10 days before the procedure.

 The best way to find out whether a cheek lift or dermal filler/collagen stimulator injections offer the most ideal option for your concerns is to have your face evaluated by our board-certified plastic surgeon. The right treatment for you will depend on the specific concerns you are experiencing and the results you are striving to achieve. Once Dr. Richards has examined and listened to you during the initial consultation, he will make a recommendation and develop a customized treatment plan designed to meet your expectations with results that look both beautiful and natural.

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