At the Hilger Face Center in Minneapolis, MN, our surgeons have years of experience performing malar augmentation using cheek implants.

Facial volume loss is a fact of life for many people and a natural part of the aging process. Occasionally, people are born with cheekbones that are less prominent or with a limited amount of volume in the cheek area. Malar or cheek augmentation can help restore volume lost due to the aging process and create balance or enhance volume that wasn’t there to begin with. Get in-depth information on the cheek augmentation procedure, including who is a good candidate, what happens during the surgery and what implant options are available.


An essential component of an aesthetically favorable surgical outcome is restoring harmony and balance to the facial area. Volume loss is to be expected from virtually every patient. There are two ways that the cheek area can lose volume. In some cases, the thick pad of fat that sits over the cheekbone diminishes with age. In other cases, the volume from the cheek area actually moves lower on the face, leading to the development of jowls.

It’s also the case that certain people are born with cheekbones that aren’t very prominent, leading them to feel less than confident or unhappy with their appearance.

The cheek augmentation procedure involves the use of facial implants to enhance the contours and size of the cheekbones, establishing or re-establishing facial volume. Our surgeons can provide specific advice and recommendations to patients on the cheek augmentation procedure and the use of implants.


Cheek augmentation is a surgical procedure that restores or improves facial volume by positioning implants in the malar area.

You may be a candidate for cheek augmentation is you are in good overall health, don’t smoke and wish to improve facial volume. Although the surgery can be performed to rejuvenate the face and to reduce the signs of aging, it’s often candidates who have naturally flatter cheekbones and minimal volume in the cheek area who see the best results from the procedure.

Although cheek augmentation with facial implants can help restore lost volume in the face, it’s often the patients who are born with flatter cheekbones that achieve the greatest result and most remarkable enhancement in the area after malar augmentation. The implants can help to make a large nose appear smaller or can improve the appearance of the eye area, as well as improving facial balance.

A candidate for cheek augmentation might also be someone who is looking to rejuvenate the facial area and establish a more youthful appearance. A variety of other procedures, including facial fat transfer, and in some cases, a facelift, can also help improve volume in the cheek area. For some patients, cheek augmentation provides the most benefit.

Cheek augmentation with implants is a type of surgery, and patients should expect to take some time off for recovery. The procedure itself is generally pretty quick, but recovery afterwards can take about a week. Once the patient is healed, the results from the procedure are usually permanent.

Cheek augmentation is a type of surgery and is most often performed in an operating room or surgical center.

Cheek implants can be made from a variety of materials, all of which are compatible with the human body. Silicone is a popular material for cheek implants. Other materials include hydroxyapatite and Gore-Tex.

Depending on the design and material the implant is made out of, it might be fairly rigid or flexible. Implants also vary in size and shape, making it possible for a surgeon to find and use an implant that will create an appealingly aesthetic result on a patient. Your surgeon might cut an implant down to have it better fit your face.

The material the implants are made from also determine whether they remain separate from the cheekbones or actually fuse into position. Implants made from hydroxyapatite, which is a substance naturally found in human bone, often become part of the cheekbone structure, as they fuse with the existing bone.

Often, cheek augmentation takes between one and two hours to perform.

During a cheek augmentation surgery, the surgeon will use either a local anesthetic, which numbs the general area, or a general anesthetic, which puts the patient completely under. There are pros and cons to each option. For example, a local anesthetic allows for a quicker recovery. A general anesthetic allows a patient to feel more comfortable with the idea of surgery, since he or she won’t remember any part of the process afterwards.

Although the cheek augmentation procedure does require a surgeon to make an incision to insert the implants, the location of the incision usually means that any scarring that occurs will be well concealed.

Often, the incision is made inside the mouth. Occasionally, surgeons may perform cheek augmentation by making the incision in the eyelid. Placing the incision inside the mouth eliminates the risk for creating any distortion in the eyelid.

After a patient is given anesthesia, the surgeon will make an incision in the inside of the mouth, usually under the lip. The incisions are often about an inch long. During the surgery, the doctor will elevate the soft tissues and create a small pocket inside the cheek. He or she will then put the implant into the specially created pocket and position it to create the most aesthetically pleasing result. At the end of the surgery, dissolvable sutures are used to close up the incision.

Swelling and bruising are common after cheek augmentation surgery. Initially, the cheeks will look fuller than expected. After about two weeks, the swelling should fade and the end results should be visible.

For that reason, many patients take at least a week off from work. If any bruising remains after about a five days, you can use makeup to cover it up.

You’ll want to avoid exercise for at least 10 days after surgery. Applying ice packs to the cheek area can help bring down swelling and speed your healing process.

Results from cheek augmentation are usually permanent, unless you decide to remove the implant at a later date. Often, cheek augmentation is combined with other procedures to achieve all over facial harmony. For example, the surgery can be combined with rhinoplasty to create facial features that are in balance with each other.

If you are naturally thin or have naturally small cheekbones, you might find that you need more volume in the cheek area as you get older. Your surgeons can help you choose the implants and procedure options that will provide the best result.

All surgeries have risks, but those risks are considerably diminished when the procedure is performed by an experienced, board certified surgeon in an appropriate setting, using the right type of implant. Often, silicone implants provide results that are more reliable than other materials.