Cheek Surgery

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Whether you’re interested in learning more about the latest plastic surgery trends in Beverly Hills, or serious about enhancing the structure of your face with streamlined cheekbones or dimples, this article will provide plenty of information on cheek enhancement surgeries and what to expect from having one. Read on to learn all about zygoma reduction and dimpleplasty plastic surgery options, and see if either of them could help you get the look you want.

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The Skinny

There’s no doubt that there’s something about dimples--just take a look at Miranda Kerr’s knockout grin to see firsthand how a pair of indentations on either cheek can make a person stand out. Furthermore, it’s quite clear that beautifully sculpted cheekbones can transform a face into one to remember such as Michelle Pfeiffer or Natalie Portman.

For those coveting the sexy, dimpled smiles of celebrities like Jennifer Garner or Mario Lopez, or a balanced and well-defined facial structure like Halle Berry or Emma Watson, cheek surgery is just one of a growing list of options that can make us feel as beautiful as the stars.

The Specifics


Cosmetic surgery has advanced dramatically in recent years, both in capability and popularity. Nowadays, patients can opt to transform their faces and bodies with more than the more widely known nose job, butt lift, or breast augmentation procedures. With the help of an experienced plastic surgeon, you can refine and improve your appearance to create the look you desire, and that includes enhancing your cheeks and cheekbones with some of the latest in plastic surgery techniques: dimpleplasty and zygoma reduction plasty.

While these types of elective, cosmetic plastic surgery might not be for everyone, for those who’ve dreamed of having a set of adorable dimples, or a more streamlined facial structure, dimpleplasty, and zygoma reduction plasty, or, cheekbone reduction surgery, might just sound too good to be true. The good news is that these are real plastic surgery procedures, and while both of them have their sets of pros and cons, it’s possible that these cosmetic treatments just might be right for you.

In this article, we will focus on both of these cosmetic procedures, dimpleplasty, and zygoma reduction plasty, with an in-depth analysis of each one. You’ll also learn more about the benefits, drawbacks and the potential results of both types of treatments, as well as some of the technical details of each procedure.

Who is the Ideal Candidate?

Most healthy people can be candidates for different types of cheek surgery. A board-certified plastic surgeon will carry out a full assessment before determining if surgery is a suitable option for you. In any case, a good candidate for either surgery will share the following characteristics:

Zygoma Reduction Plasty (Cheekbone Reduction Surgery): The ideal candidate for a zygoma reduction surgery, or cheekbone reduction surgery, is unhappy with their prominent cheekbones. He or she will have realistic expectations of surgery and results.

Dimpleplasty: The ideal candidate for a dimpleplasty is generally in good health, and desires natural-looking dimples. Because dimpleplasty is permanent, the patient should fully realize that having this procedure is an important decision that cannot easily be reversed. The patient should also be well aware of the potential outcome of this surgery--including all possibilities of risks, side effects, and complications, and all of the benefits, to make an informed and rational decision about having the procedure.

Who Should Not Get Cheek Surgery?

Cheek surgery is not recommended for anyone with a medical history that could potentially cause complications during or after surgery, or that might affect the healing process. Beyond the general health of a candidate, each cheek surgery procedures are not recommended for the following types of patients:

Zygoma Reduction Plasty (Cheekbone Reduction Surgery): Cheekbone reduction surgery is not recommended for candidates under the age of 18. Anyone with unrealistic expectations would also not be suitable for cheek reduction surgery.

Dimpleplasty: Dimpleplasty is not recommended for patients with infections in or around the mouth such as herpes. Anyone who suffers from lupus, diabetes or blood-clotting diseases would not be suitable for dimpleplasty. Heavy smokers who are unwilling to quit for a short period would also not be recommended.

What is the Goal of Cheek Surgery?

Those having cheekbone reduction surgery will want to achieve a more proportioned appearance of the face and reduce the appearance of overly prominent cheekbones. In dimpleplasty, the goal is generally to simulate the appearance of natural-looking dimples.

While the two procedures may seem unrelated and can be performed on their own as separate procedures, they are frequently performed together as well. Both cheek reduction surgery and dimpleplasty are complementary surgeries that when combined can result in a more defined facial contour. Ideally, those having both surgeries at once will achieve a well-balanced and natural facial expression, while in both relaxed and animated states.

Is Anesthesia Required?

In most cases, anesthesia will be administered for both cheekbone reduction surgery and dimpleplasty. Cheekbone reduction surgery is more invasive, and patients will be given general anesthesia for total sedation during the procedure. For dimpleplasty, local anesthesia is commonly given as it is a minimally invasive procedure.

Before Treatment Care

There are several practical steps that cheekbone reduction and dimpleplasty patients can take before their procedure begins. Following doctor’s orders before surgery will help the patient to achieve the best results while avoiding any unnecessary complications.

Zygoma Reduction Plasty (Cheekbone Reduction Surgery) and Dimpleplasty: X-rays of the cheek region are taken in advance to ensure accuracy during the procedure. Before surgery, patients will be instructed to not eat or drink anything for a minimum of 6 hours before the procedure is scheduled.

Do not take any medication that contains aspirin before your procedure, as it could thin the blood and result in unnecessary or excessive blood loss during the procedure. Patients will also be advised to stop taking any anti-inflammatory or herbal medication for at least two weeks before the procedure.

Your doctor will also urge you to quit smoking at least four weeks before and after your cheek surgery procedure. Smoking decreases blood flow to the skin, and this may result in tissue loss. Tissue loss can delay the healing process after your surgery is over, and could result in unfavorable scars.

Avoid drinking any alcohol two days before the procedure as it can interfere with the anesthesia. Arnica and Vitamin C should be taken for two weeks before and after surgery, which can help reduce bruising, and aid in the body’s natural healing process. It’s important to note that both Arnica and Vitamin C can result in reduced healing and recovery times.

Are Results Temporary or Permanent?

As cheekbone reduction and dimpleplasty are both surgical procedures, you can expect results to be permanent. For zygoma reduction plasty, or cheekbone reduction surgery, the results are permanent and are noticeable two to three weeks after surgery. The swelling will continue to decrease, and results will be visible around three months after surgery. In dimpleplasty, results are noticeable immediately after the procedure and are permanent.

What Are the Possible Side Effects?

All types of surgeries, even minimally invasive ones like dimpleplasty carry some degree of risk. For these particular procedures, the potential for side effects and other complications is relatively low, though it’s important that patients know more about them before having the surgeries.

Patients for both surgeries should know that the risks in common for both cheekbone reduction surgery and dimpleplasty include asymmetry, infection, swelling, discomfort, bruising, and pain.

For patients having cheek reduction surgery, the list of complications is longer and can be more serious than with dimpleplasty. Risks include poor bone healing, changes in sensation, temporary or permanent loss of movement or feeling in the cheeks, and drooping cheeks. There is also the potential for the recurrence of bone growth if the shaving method is utilized, injury to facial nerves and nerve damage, deep vein thrombosis or cardiac pulmonary complications, anesthesia risks, hematoma, and others.

Dimpleplasty is considered a very safe procedure, though it is the potential for serious complications to occur, as no surgery is completely risk-free. In addition to the previously mentioned side effects shared with cheek reduction surgery, dimpleplasty also carries a very low but possible risk of excessive bleeding and facial nerve injury.

What is the Recovery Process Like?

Recovery time is usually fairly short and straightforward when the doctor’s guidelines are adhered to. Here are some of the general guidelines for recovering after cheek surgery.

Zygoma Reduction Plasty(Cheekbone Reduction Surgery): Patients are advised to plan for a recovery period of at least five to seven days after the procedure. Your doctor will prescribe you with medication to minimize swelling, bruising, and numbness that may occur after surgery. These conditions will disappear within one to two weeks, after which you should feel ready to resume your normal activities and return to work. Your results will be more noticeable after the swelling subsides after three months.

Dimpleplasty: Most patients can return to work the day following the procedure, although there will be some temporary redness and mild swelling for a few days after surgery. It is advised to avoid strenuous activity for at least one to two weeks following the procedure and to keep from injuring the treated areas with certain foods or when brushing your teeth. Though results are immediate, some time will need to pass for the cheek muscle tissues to relax and for swelling to die down, and for the sutures to disintegrate. After this happens, the final results are typically visible after two months.

How Long Does it Take to Recovery from Cheek Surgery?

For zygoma reduction plasty patients can expect to be fully recovered in as little as two weeks, though it can take up to three months for a full recovery to take place. Recovery times will vary from patient to patient and will depend on a variety of factors including the general health background of the patient, and the complexity of the procedure itself.

Dimpleplasty, on the other hand, is considered a very safe and simple procedure, and recovery time is estimated at no more than a week from the date of the surgery. This estimated recovery time can vary, however, and some patients have reported recovery times of up to eight weeks.

How Much Will Treatment Cost?

Prices will vary depending on the type of procedure and where it is performed. In most cases, prices for zygoma reduction plasty (cheekbone reduction surgery) will cost between $2,000 and $5,000.

For dimpleplasty procedures, the price range is less for this minimally invasive surgery, at $150 to $2800. As with most surgical procedures and cosmetic treatments, costs will depend on a variety of factors, including your medical background, chosen procedures, and your geographic location.

For a detailed analysis of what cheekbone reduction surgery or dimpleplasty will cost in your case, it is essential that you speak with a board-certified surgeon experienced in performing facial cosmetic surgeries. He or she will be able to provide exact, detailed information specific to your needs, and can help you determine what your particular procedure will cost, and why.

Types of Cheek Surgery

Before deciding to have any form of cosmetic surgery, it is important to understand the basics of the procedure. This will allow you to make an informed decision and have realistic expectations.

Zygoma Reduction Plasty (Cheekbone Reduction Surgery): Cheekbone reduction surgery is a procedure that reduces the structure of the cheekbone to create a more proportioned look of the face. There are two techniques used to achieve the desired results - cheekbone shaving and a more invasive cheekbone osteotomy.

Dimpleplasty: Dimpleplasty is a minimally invasive surgery used to create natural-looking dimples on the cheeks or chin. To perform the procedure, the plastic facial surgeon finds the natural place to form a dimple. A suture is passed through the inside of the cheek (or for chin dimples, through the inside of the bottom lip), to catch the undersurface of the skin. When the suture is tied, it creates a dimple in the overlying skin. The surgical procedure usually takes around 30 minutes. It can be performed under local anesthesia, and should not leave a visible scar on the outside of the face.

What Happens During a Cheek Surgery Procedure?

If you’re interested in learning more details about the process of cheek surgery or cheekbone reduction surgery, your surgeon will explain the technical process of your chosen procedure before operating. In this overview, we’ll give you a brief and general explanation of what typically happens during these procedures.

Zygoma Reduction Plasty(Cheekbone Reduction Surgery): Cheekbone reduction is carried out to either reduce a prominent anterior zygomatic prominence or to reduce the width of the face in the cheek area. It can be done through either a cheek shaving technique or cheek (zygomatic) osteotomies. For cheek shaving, the surgeon will make an incision along the hairline or inside the oral cavity. The cheekbone is accessed through the incision and sculpted by shaving off a small amount of the bone with a saw. A cheek osteotomy procedure involves adjustment of the frontal cheekbone and the lateral part of the cheekbone. These are fixed in place with screws and plates and incisions are sealed with dissolvable sutures.

Dimpleplasty: A natural dimple forms when there is a small defect in the cheek muscle. The skin overlying this defect is stuck down to the underlying connective tissue and creates a dimple in the skin that shows when you smile. Dimpleplasty can recreate this naturally occurring facial feature. To form a dimple, a small incision is made on the inside of the cheek. No incisions are made on the outside of the cheek, so scars are not visible. A tiny suture is passed through the inside of the cheek, which will catch under the skin where the dimple is desired. The absorbable suture is then tied so that it causes a dimpling in the overlying skin. Initially, the dimple is visible even without smiling, but after a few days, the dimple only appears while smiling or moving the cheeks during normal facial expressions.

After Treatment Care

It is crucial to follow the advice of your facial plastic surgeon after the operation. This will help to reduce the risk of side effects and minimize scars.

Zygoma Reduction Plasty (Cheekbone Reduction Surgery) It is advisable to wear a facial garment for at least seven days after the operation to support and protect surgical incisions. The garment can be worn at night time if you are not able to wear it during the day, and will help you to keep from putting pressure on the surgical sites for a month after surgery.

It is recommended to eat a soft or liquid diet after surgery since patients will experience numbness of the lips and heavy chewing may be difficult. Keep the mouth clean by using a saline solution after all meals for the first three days after surgery. Mouthwash diluted with water can be used or gently brushing of the teeth can be done on the fourth day after surgery. It is imperative to clean the surgical wound regularly. Stitches will be removed by your surgeon within five to seven days after surgery.

It is normal to experience facial swelling and bruising after surgery. This will improve gradually, and within three months you can expect the appearance to return to normal. For one or two days after the procedure, a cold compress is recommended to reduce swelling and bruising on surgical sites. Sleep with the head raised on pillows for two to three days after the procedure to prevent any swelling that might occur. Avoid strenuous exercise for two weeks after surgery.

Dimpleplasty: On the first day after the procedure it is recommended to stay on a liquid diet using a straw. After one day patients can start a semi-solid or soft diet. After three to four days, patients are usually able to resume their normal diet and can safely eat all kinds of foods.

Chlorhexidine antiseptic mouthwash is prescribed for the first two to three days after the procedure. Extreme care is needed when brushing teeth for the first ten days, to prevent harming the sutures or disrupting the dimpled areas. Using a baby toothbrush can help and will prevent irritating sutures, and patients can resume a normal dental hygiene routine after ten days.

There will likely be some swelling around the dimple, which will gradually subside. The dimple will be visible at all times until the sutures get absorbed, and will then continue to fade until the dimple is present only when smiling, creating a more natural look.

The Takeaway

The Pros and Cons of Cheek Surgery

Cheek surgery can have many advantages when done for the right candidate. For those seeking a slimmer face and improved facial proportions, zygoma reduction plasty can offer excellent results with very little downtime. Likewise, recovering from dimpleplasty is typically very fast, and patients can expect to very noticeable results after just two to three weeks--and permanent, natural-looking results after three months.

As with any surgery, however, some potential cons could detract from your willingness to have either procedure performed. For zygoma reduction plasty, results can sometimes be too subtle or even unnoticeable, and there is a possibility of scarring.

In dimpleplasty, there is a risk of asymmetry and varied results. Patients should be aware that this, like cheek reduction surgery, is a permanent procedure. It’s therefore essential that the patient is mentally prepared to embrace their new look and the benefits of the surgery, and that their expectations about the procedure are realistic--to avoid potential disappointment with the results.

In most cases, patients report feeling very content and satisfied with the outcome of these procedures. Both cheek reduction surgery and dimpleplasty are rather simple surgeries, with often subtle but very natural looking results.

If you’re interested in having cheek reduction surgery or a dimpleplasty procedure, be sure to schedule a consultation with your plastic surgeon to find out more about the surgeries and what they can do to improve your appearance. Your doctor will be able to explain your procedure and help you outweigh the pros and cons--relative to your facial structure, medical background, and your desires for a more aesthetically pleasing facial contour.

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Source List


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  2. GB Forbes Body Fat Content Influences the Body Composition Response to Nutrition and Exercise; 2000-05-01
  3. Paul Cohen, Bruce M Spiegelman Cell Biology of Fat Storage; 2016-08-15


‘Try on’ aesthetic procedures and instantly visualize possible results with AEDIT and our patented 3D aesthetic simulator.

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