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I have had cheek implants for approximately ten years. Would removal of these...

Q:

I have had cheek implants for approximately ten years. Would removal of these implants result in any kind of deformity in my face?

A:

It is impossible to give a patient-specific answer without direct examination, so I will respond in general terms.

The most common forms of cheek implants are shells of solid silicone. They are usually placed directly over the body of the zygomatic bone ("cheekbone"). The subcutaneous fat layer, overlying the cheekbones, is very thin. Over a period of years, it is not uncommon for the implant to create a thinning of the fat overlying the bone. In such a case, late removal can leave a depression at the site of the previous implant.

While there may be a difference in opinion as to whether to place the implants initially, once in place, it is usually better to leave them, unless they are causing problems. If removal is necessary, some form of additional cheek lift may be required, to compensate for the depression.

A:

In general, cheek implants, if properly placed, can last for many years. If they are mal-positioned or bothersome they can cause a deformity and may need to be removed. This can be corrected secondarily although the scar tissue is often enough to minimize the deformity present if removed atraumatically. I prefer not to use cheek implants as they do not age well with the patient.

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