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Page Updated: Dec 22, 2020

Cheek augmentation, or a cheek lift, can help recontour the face for a more youthful and attractive appearance. Cheek augmentation, implants, fillers or fat transfers, performed by a top-rated plastic surgeon in New York Dr. Gary Linkov, can help minimize bags under the eyes and soften the facial appearance, creating more balance for your features. This transforming procedure is available at City Facial Plastics in Midtown, Manhattan.

What Is Cheek Lift?

Cheek lift is a broad term used to describe a number of procedures that can make the upper cheek area more prominent. While some of the procedures, such as a mid facelift, truly involve “lifting” the cheeks, many procedures involve the insertion of certain substances to give the cheeks a fuller, lifted appearance. Both of these approaches can augment the cheeks, and why to choose one type over the other depends on a variety of factors.

The upper cheek area is felt to be one of the most important determinants of youthfulness and beauty. On review of paintings and sculptures from ancient times, many women are portrayed with prominent cheekbone areas. In today’s society, some of the celebrities felt to be most beautiful, such as Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, and Kiera Knightly share a common characteristic of prominent cheekbones.

In some cases, cheek fat is not lost, but instead has sagged with age. The cheek pads can droop from gravity and lost elasticity in the skin. A cheek lift procedure can bring the buccal fat pads back to a more youthful position. This can change the contours of the face and help diminish hollows under the eyes.

Dr. Gary Linkov is a skilled facial plastic surgeon in New York with expertise in facial rejuvenation. Using advanced techniques and cutting-edge surgical options, he can reposition or augment the cheeks to create a flattering appearance to the face. Both cheek augmentations and lifts can help restore more balanced, attractive contours for a youthful, energetic appearance in both men and women.

What Is the Relevant Anatomy for Cheek Lift?

In order to understand the different approaches to cheek augmentation, it is important to be familiar with the anatomical structures that comprise the cheeks.

Some of the important anatomical structures are described below.

Malar bone (zygomatic bone)

The malar, also known as the zygomatic, bone is the anatomical term for the cheekbone. The zygomatic bone is shaped like a diamond and helps form the lower part of the eye socket. Its protrusion outward and width are what helps give the cheekbones a more pronounced appearance.

Malar eminence

The malar eminence refers to the protruding part of the zygomatic bone. People with prominent malar eminences are typically felt to have “high cheekbones”.  Malar hypoplasia refers to the underdevelopment of the malar bone, and people with this condition typically have a flattened appearance to the face.

Malar fat pad

The malar fat pad is a collection of fat that, in youth, lies directly on top of the malar eminence. The malar fat pad also contributes to high appearing cheekbones. During aging, gravity pulls the malar fat pad downward, which changes the contour of the cheeks and can give a saggy appearance.

Submalar triangle

The submalar triangle is the term given to the borders of 3 structures that, when connected by lines, forms the triangular appearance of the cheek. The three structures are: 1) the malar eminence (superiorly), 2) nasofacial fold (medially), and 3) the masseter muscle (laterally). All of these structures play an important role in giving fullness to the cheeks.

Bizygomatic and bigonial distances

The bizygomatic distance is the maximal distance between the left and right sides of the zygomatic bone in the mid face. The bigonial distance is the distance between two structures called the gonia, which are located in the lower jaw. These distances are important because research has shown that an aesthetically balanced face is when the bizygomatic distance exceeds the bigonial distance by approximately 25-30%.


WIZDOM represents the Width of the Interzygomatic Distance of the Midface. WIZDOM is similar to the bizygomatic distance, but takes into account surrounding surface landmarks, such as where light typically highlights the skin of the cheeks. WIZDOM plays an important role in determining proportionate and balanced facial features. Dr. Linkov, as the best-in-class plastic surgeon in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, has published on the topic of WIZDOM.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Cheek Lift?

Candidates for cheek lift are typically people who have either experienced loss of volume of the cheeks over time or who desire augmentation of the cheeks to enhance their current aesthetic appearance. During the aging process, the skin and fat that comprise the mid face area start to sag, and the underlying facial bones change in such a way that a face that was once shaped like a heart starts to look more like a pear. Additionally, some younger people may simply be dissatisfied with their current appearance and seek augmentation.

What Are the Types of Cheek Lift?

How cheek lift is done varies greatly based on the type of the procedure. There are many available cheek augmentation procedures, but the most common approaches to this procedure will be reviewed below.

Cheek lift filler

Cheek lift filler injection is a very common minimally invasive cosmetic procedure. Cheek fillers NYC are typically composed of hyaluronic acid and temporarily provide volume to very specific treatment areas. Cheek filler injections are a good option for people who desire cheek augmentation without surgery.

How Is Cheek Lift Filler Done?

Cheek lift filler is done in the office using local anesthesia. The areas to be injected will be marked with a special marker and then cleaned. For this procedure, about ½ to 1 syringe of filler per side is usually needed to result in noticeably fuller cheeks. Results from cheek augmentation filler usually last anywhere from 9 to 15 months.

What Are the Risks of Cheek Lift Filler?

Risks of cheek fillers include:

  • Mild bleeding, bruising, and swelling
  • Allergic reaction
  • Scarring with repeated injections
  • Vascular occlusion affecting the skin and vision

What Are the Contraindications to Cheek Lift Filler?

There are some people who should not receive cheek augmentation injection. Contraindications to cheek lift filler include:

  • Infection at site to be injected
  • Prior allergic reaction to filler
  • Prior skin necrosis with filler

Cheek lift surgery

There are two main surgical options for cheek augmentation NYC. These options are cheek implant surgery and a mid face lift.

Cheek implant surgery

Cheek implant surgery is a permanent option for cheek augmentation. Implants used for cheek augmentation surgery are usually made of silicone, expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), or high density polyethyelene. The type of cheek implant used is based on your aesthetic needs, medical history, and the preference and experience of your plastic surgeon.

How Is Cheek Implant Surgery Done?

Cheek implant surgery is typically done with deep sedation anesthesia. Local anesthesia is typically injected into the area to be operated on, and a nerve block may also be done to decrease pain. An incision is made in the inner part of the cheek (inside of the mouth) and the implant is inserted. The incision is then closed with suture. Antibiotics are typically taken for several days after cheek implant surgery to prevent infection. Swelling is very common, and usually resolves within the first 3 to 4 weeks after cheek implant surgery, but may last for months.

What Are the Risks of Cheek Implant Surgery?

Risks of cheek implant surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Displacement of implant
  • Nerve injury
  • Poor aesthetic outcome

What Are the Contraindications to Cheek Implant Surgery?

There are some people who should not undergo cheek implant surgery. It is important to discuss with your doctor if you have any of the following conditions, as it may not be safe for you to undergo cheek implant surgery:

  • Immunocompromised
  • Connective tissue diseases
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Facial hardware
  • Prior facial trauma
  • Allergy to certain anesthesia medications

Mid facelift surgery

Mid facelift surgery is a great permanent option for cheek augmentation for people who also have other typical signs of aging such as wrinkles and hollow tear troughs. In mid facelift surgery, an incision is made on both sides of the face, by the ears, and the underlying tissues are accessed and manipulated in such a way that the structures are tightened, or “lifted”.

During mid facelift surgery at City Facial Plastic in UES, Manhattan, the malar fat pads that have descended are brought back up above the malar eminence and to the side, restoring the youthful, heart-shaped appearance of the face.

What Are the Risks of Mid Facelift Surgery?

Risks of mid facelift surgery include:

  • Hematoma
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Poor scarring
  • Skin necrosis
  • Hair loss
  • Earlobe deformities

What Are the Contraindications to Mid Facelift Surgery?

There are some people who should not undergo mid facelift surgery for cheek augmentation. It is important to discuss with your doctor if you have any of the following conditions, as it may not be safe for you to undergo mid facelift for cheek lift surgery:

  • Severe kidney, liver, or cardiac disease, unless cleared by a specialist for anesthesia and surgery.
  • Certain autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or scleroderma with facial skin involvement, as well as Sjogren’s syndrome and autoimmune vascular diseases.
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • Prior radiation treatment to the head and/or neck
  • Current use of isotretinoin for acne
  • Allergy to certain anesthesia medications

Are Patients Satisfied After Cheek Lift?

Regardless of the type of cheek lift, patients are usually very satisfied after their cheek augmentation procedure. Many people are very happy to no longer have to use a significant amount of highlighting and contouring makeup to achieve the appearance of high cheekbones. Additionally, those that undergo cheek lift surgery via mid facelift surgery often feel as if they look many years younger.

What Is the Cost of Cheek Lift?

The cost of cheek lift procedures varies depending on the type of cheek augmentation procedure and the location of the plastic surgeon performing the surgery. For cheek lift NYC, the following are price ranges for the procedures described above:

  • Cheek lift filler: $600 – $2400
  • Cheek implant surgery: starting at $5000 for surgery, plus additional anesthesia and facility fees
  • Mid facelift surgery: starting at $9,000 for surgery, plus additional anesthesia and facility fees

Who Is the Best Cheek Lift Surgeon in NYC?

Dr. Gary Linkov is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in Manhattan, NY. Given his extensive training in head and neck surgery, he has special expertise in the anatomy of the face including the superficial and deep structures involved in cheek augmentation procedures.

You can view some before and after photos from real patients who underwent cheek augmentation with Dr. Linkov below:

Cheek Augmentation Before and After

If you would like to explore cheek augmentation or lift options, contact City Facial Plastics in Manhattan, NYC to schedule a consultation. An experienced plastic surgeon in New York City Dr. Linkov can help you find the best procedure to obtain the look you desire to improve self-confidence in your appearance.

City Facial Plastics: Dr. Gary Linkov
635 Madison Ave #1402E
New York NY 10022
(212) 439-5177

Page Updated on Dec 22, 2020 by Dr. Gary Linkov (Facial Plastic Surgeon) of City Facial Plastics in New York

What Dr. Linkov's Patients Say
City Facial Plastics

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Based on 47 reviews

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Highly recommend! Dr. Gary helped me with painful lip scar tissue after an accidental fall a year earlier. I’ve known Gary for 20 years and since the first day knowing him he’s grown as a medical professional with an innate sense of detail and kind demeanor. Excellent client follow up and post treatment care.

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Dr. Gary is a fantastic NYC plastic surgeon who treats me and to whom I would recommend all my friends and family. He has a very conservative approach to fillers and I was extremely impressed with the way he filled my nasolabial lines that had been bothering me for years. It was painless, and I did not experience any bruising at all. Getting this done gave me so much confidence - I wish I worked with him years ago!

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