Using techniques traditionally used in applying makeup, researchers inject dermal fillers for cheek augmentation. They recently published their results.
One of the changes often seen in the aging face is sagging cheeks. The drooping from the loss of skin tone and elasticity can also be compounded by the shrinking of the cheekbone. Recreating the youthful appearance means replacing the lost soft tissue and accentuating the profile of the cheekbones.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) dermal fillers are used to augment these areas and how and where they are injected is based on existing surgical techniques for malar implantation. Inserting cheek implants entailed identifying the hollow spaces underneath the cheekbone, creating a pocket and subsequently injecting the filler into these areas. Because this technique is relatively predictable, it has been adapted for HA filler injections commonly practiced by clinicians in malar augmentation. However, while it is effective in increasing cheek volume, a commonly-observed effect is an unnatural bulking up of the cheeks, which can look plumped up and artificial to the observer.
In collaboration with a manufacturer for HA dermal fillers, a group of researchers proposed a new technique using HA fillers to augment the cheek areas. Instead of the traditional surgical blueprint, they base their injection patterns on how makeup is applied to the cheek areas. Makeup artists highlight the cheekbones by applying blushes and stains over its contours; this increases the projection of the malar areas and creates a more defined appearance. Using these principles, the researchers mark areas in the cheekbones that mimic makeup areas; injecting around these areas is seen to enhance the contours without creating excessive volume.
The September 2017 online edition of the Aesthetic Plastic Surgery journal reports on this case study done by the researchers, where they report using this technique exclusively for over 500 patients. They report both patient and clinician satisfaction with their results and claim better aesthetic results.
Incorporating tried-and-tested make-up techniques with dermatologic procedures appears to be a novel approach, but intuitively does make sense. Going forward, though, a definitive scientific investigation should be pursued. Since this is a case study sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, directly comparing it with standard techniques will go a long way in establishing its efficacy in rejuvenating the cheek area.
Written by Jay Martin, M.D.
Shamban, et al. “A Novel and More Aesthetic Injection Pattern for Malar Contour Volume Restoration”. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 2017. Doi: 10.1007/s00266-017-0981-1