Cosmetic Surgery Update

McCall’s- July 1989

“Malar Augmentation”

Traditionally, face-lifts have been used to tighten sagging cheeks and skin folds around the mouth. But some surgeons now use malar augmentation, a procedure that involves placing a solid, silicone rubber implant in the upper cheek or midcheek area. The price tag: about one third of the cost of a face-lift. The submalar implant, recently introduced by William Binder, M.D., a Los Angeles surgeon, rests in the midcheek area rather than at the top of the cheekbone. According to Dr. Binder, it conforms to the shape of the cheek more accurately than does any previous model. About 75 to 100 surgeons use the implant, and the number is rising.

The Procedure: The augmentation is frequently performed on an outpatient basis, in as little as half an hour. After a local anesthetic is given, the surgeon makes an incision through the mouth or the eyelids, and inserts the implant into the soft tissue over the cheekbone. However, there are drawbacks. Because the surgery is often done through the bacteria-laden mouth, the infection rate is fairly high – about 6 to 10 percent. And malar augmentation may not help people who do not have loose facial soft tissue, but who experience other effects of aging.