- Cheek fillers are dermal fillers that add definition and volume to the cheeks.
- The best cheek fillers are hyaluronic acid (HA)-based formulas like Juvederm and Restylane.
- HA-based cheek fillers can easily be reversed in the event of unsatisfactory results.
- Some synthetic dermal fillers add more volume than HA and have longer-lasting results.
- Costs vary based on material, the number of syringes used, your provider’s fees and the location.
- Cheek fillers are generally safe and have a low risk of adverse side effects.
If you want to add volume or definition to your cheeks, cheek fillers are one cosmetic treatment that can help you get the look you want. A number of dermal filler materials are available that deliver a range of results, depending on your aesthetic goals.
What Are Cheek fillers?
Cheek fillers are dermal fillers that are used to add definition to the cheeks. Dermal fillers are naturally-occurring or synthetic materials that are injected into areas of the face to add volume, smooth wrinkles and fill in lines. Filler materials plump up cheeks and restore a youthful look where age-related fat loss has occurred.
Best fillers for the cheek area
The best fillers for the cheek area include both hyaluronic acid (HA)-based fillers as well as other synthetic filler materials. HA fillers last an average of six to 12 months and include:
- Juvederm Voluma XC
- Restylane Lyft
Synthetic filler materials commonly used in cheeks include:
- Bellafill, a non-reabsorbable filler made from polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) that lasts about five years
- Radiesse, a filler made from calcium hydroxyapatite (CaHA) that lasts nine to 15 months
- Sculptra, a Poly-L-Lactic acid (PLLA) filler material that lasts about two years
Ideal Candidates for Cheek Fillers
Adults over age 21 who want to plump their cheeks, add volume to the cheek area, or address mild to moderate wrinkles may be ideal candidates for cheek fillers. They should not smoke, be in good overall health, have no allergies or medical conditions and be able to take care of their skin after the treatment.
What cheek fillers can’t do
Cheek fillers can’t resolve severe wrinkles, sagging skin or deep hollows in the cheek area. If you need more extensive correction, you might benefit more from cosmetic surgery like facelift instead.
What to Expect During the Procedure
Cheek filler injections are performed in an outpatient setting and are similar to other dermal filler procedures.
Your provider will disinfect the site where you’ll be injected, then apply an anesthetic such as lidocaine to the area. The anesthetic may be applied topically, injected or may be included in the syringe.
You’ll need to remain very still while your provider injects the filler material. For cheek fillers, you’ll likely need multiple injections. Your provider may ask that you come in for follow-up appointments to evaluate your results and administer additional injections if needed.
Your procedure will take about 30-60 minutes, including prep time. You’ll be able to go home right away, and no downtime is required.
Do cheek fillers hurt?
Though there may be some discomfort and pressure associated with the injections, many dermal fillers have lidocaine included in the syringe to make the treatments more comfortable. If lidocaine isn’t in the filler material, your provider will likely apply a topical numbing agent before the procedure.
You will likely feel a bit sore for a few days after treatment.
Cheek fillers aftercare
After the procedure, avoid direct sunlight and heavy physical activity for 24-48 hours. Avoid touching the treatment area, and keep it clean. If you’re uncomfortable, you can take Tylenol or apply ice packs to the area.
Cheek fillers results
Cheek filler results should look natural and subtle. With some treatments, like Juvederm, you’ll see results immediately. Other treatments take a few days before results are visible.
Safety and Side Effects of Cheek Fillers
Generally, dermal filler materials are considered to be safe, with a low risk of adverse events. Side effects tend to be mild for most people and only last for a few days after the treatment.
Bruising, bleeding and swelling
It’s normal to experience minor bruising, bleeding, swelling and redness after cheek filler injections. If you have a take blood thinners or have a bleeding, you’re at a higher risk for these side effects. It is also possible to develop a sensitivity reaction after the procedure is over.
Less common side effects of cheek fillers
Some people will experience a few, less common side effects or adverse outcomes of cheek fillers. These include:
- Allergic reactions to filler material or lidocaine, which can be avoided through allergy testing prior to treatment
- Infections, which may be prevented through good skin hygiene
- Nerve damage caused by incorrect injection placement, which may cause pain or numbness
- Skin damage due to poor injection technique; filler injections placed in the wrong area can cause skin damage or tissue necrosis (death)
- Unsatisfactory aesthetic outcomes, including lumps, bumps or asymmetry (usually caused by inexperienced providers)
Cheek fillers gone bad
To prevent cheek filler issues like over-filled “chipmunk cheeks” and “pillow face”, be sure to select a board-certified provider who specializes in cheek injections. Using an HA-based filler material may help prevent adverse outcomes, as injectables like Juvederm tend to be consistent.
HA fillers are also reversible if the outcome is unsatisfactory. Other, higher-volume fillers may be difficult to reverse and could require surgery to do so.
How Much Do Cheek Fillers Cost?
The cost of cheek fillers depends on the brand, the number of syringes used, your provider’s fees and their location. If you require one syringe per cheek, for example, double the cost per syringe and add any additional provider fees to the total.
When pricing cheek filler materials, remember to also factor in how often you’ll need to repeat treatments.
|Lip Filler Brand||Type of Filler||Cost Range Per Syringe||How long does it last?|
|Bellafill||PMMA||$1,000||Up to 5 years|
|Juvederm Voluma XC||HA||$1,000||Up to 12 months|
|Restylane Lyft||HA||$600-1,000||Up to 10 months|
|Sculptra||PLLA||$700-1000||Up to 2 years|
Because it’s more invasive and requires surgical liposuction, fat grafting is much more expensive than getting cheek fillers, though results are considered semi-permanent. A fat grafting procedure can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000.
Cheek injections are considered cosmetic treatments, so they aren’t covered by insurance. You’ll need to be prepared to pay out of pocket or talk to your provider about financing options to help you cover the procedure.
Cheek filler injections aren’t for everyone. If you don’t like the look cheek fillers create, don’t have the budget, or would like to pursue a longer-lasting treatment that doesn’t require frequent repeat treatments, there are alternatives.
Over-the-counter masks and creams
Masks and creams are available over-the-counter to help plump and tighten skin. Look for products with high concentrations of hyaluronic serum, retinoids, and peptides, which helps to plump the skin when it’s applied topically. Creams and serums aren’t as dramatic and don’t last as long as injections, but they are more cost-effective and carry a low risk of side effects.
Skin tightening procedures or facelift surgery
Procedures that tighten skin may be more appropriate if you want to address deeper wrinkles and other concerns around the cheek area. Some of these approaches include:
- Ablative laser skin resurfacing
- Nonablative laser skin resurfacing
- Radiofrequency (RF) skin tightening
- Ultrasound skin tightening
Facelift surgeries can address more severe issues with the skin and last longer than other approaches. However, they’re more expensive and carry a higher risk of adverse side effects than other treatments.
How to Select a Provider
Choose a cosmetic provider who is board-certified by the American Board of Medical Specialists, and is someone you feel comfortable with. You may want to interview your provider to learn more about their level of experience with the cheek filler you’re considering. Ask them to share before and after images of past patients to get an idea of the kind of results they get.
Cheek fillers are a generally safe, minimally invasive way to add volume to your cheeks and restore a youthful appearance to your face. For best results, choose a provider who is experienced in cheek injections and in using the type of dermal filler you’re considering. Take time to consider the pros and cons of your filler options, as well as whether it’s possible to reverse your filler of choice if you’re unhappy with your results.
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