The mid-face or cheek is one of the areas that shows the earliest signs of facial aging. Natural fat pads sit at the peak of the cheek bone. These can be felt by placing your finger on the cheek bone underneath the outer corner of the eyes. Aging in this area will cause this natural fat pad to descend from the top of the cheek bone, producing the common mid-face droop referred to as cheek “festoons.” Along with mid-face changes due to the effects of gravity, prominent nasolabial folds (deep wrinkles between the edge of the nose and corner of the mouth) can arise. This is one of the most common areas of concern in patients seeking aesthetic facial rejuvenation. Using one’s own fat or an absorbable collagen filler are the only ways this area can be addressed without surgery. Because this is an area that shows some of the earliest signs of aging, Dr. Selem often treats patients as young as 28 – 35 years of age.
It’s important to understand that this area cannot be addressed with a traditional face-lift, which is intended to repair changes in the lower face, neck, and jowls. Dr. Selem is one of the few surgeons in the country trained to perform a procedure scientifically known as transconjunctival subperiosteal cheek mid-face lift. Dr. Selem does not perform cheek implants because placing foreign materials into the face can pose a risk of infection or migration. Dr. Selem also avoids using a procedure that involves stitching behind the hairline down to the cheek because he believes it produces an unnatural “cat-eyed” appearance.
The surgery takes about 90 minutes and can be performed in the office with the patient under local anesthesia, or at an outpatient surgical facility with sedation. A 1 cm contact lens is placed to protect the eyeball. An incision is placed on the inside of the lower eyelid. Dissection is then continued over the cheekbone and down to the nasolabial fold area, so that attachments between the skin and muscle that accentuate this fold are relieved.
This release will allow complete elevation of the cheek to be reattached to the corner of the eye onto the bone. The cheek is lifted in a natural contour, where the cheek fat pad is placed back into its natural position. Dr. Selem’s placement of the incision on the inside of the eyelid produces an “invisible incision” effect. By using this approach, Dr. Selem feels it is the most natural way to lift the cheek in the direction from which it descended. Following the procedure, ice-packs will be placed over the lower eyelids/cheeks for the first twenty-four hours and the patient should expect bruising and swelling for 7 – 10 days. Patients will be seen during the first week and again during the second week after surgery for their post-operative appointments. It is common to combine this procedure with a lower eyelid blepharoplasty.
Dr. Joseph Selem and the staff at The Selem Center for Ophthalmology & Plastic Surgery would be happy to help you set up a private consultation to discuss cheek lift surgery. Schedule an appointment online or call us at 305-444-0221.