Ear, Nose and Throat (Otolaryngology) – Head and Neck Surgery

Facial Implants: Cheek, Chin, and Jaw

The shape of the jaw line, chin, and cheekbones can have a dramatic impact on the face. These areas are often overshadowed by more prominent features like the nose and eyes, but both are equally important to overall facial symmetry and appearance.

At Mount Sinai’s Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, our cosmetic surgeons use facial implants to create safe, long-lasting, and natural-looking results that balance and rejuvenate the face. Improving the proportions of the jaw, chin, or cheek helps soften the facial structures and expressions. Additionally, adding substance to areas of the face that have lost volume can create a more youthful appearance.

About Facial Implants

Implant surgery is a cosmetic procedure that is used to sculpt and reshape a specific area of the face. The most common places to use facial implants are for the chin, cheek, or jaw.

While the majority of facial implant surgeries are performed for cosmetic reasons, our surgeons also specialize in treating patients who have facial disfiguration as a result of trauma or disease. Facial implants are effective for:  

  • Enlarging and reshaping a receding chin
  • Enhancing the jaw line
  • Balancing irregular facial features 
  • Adding volume to sunken or flattened cheek bones
  • Restoring shape following trauma or disease

The implants used at Mount Sinai are all FDA-approved and typically made from materials such as silastic or polythene. Sometimes implants can be made from the patient’s own tissue.

Types of Implants

Our surgeons are highly skilled in numerous techniques and have a proven success record in placing several types of implants. The most common facial implants we use are:   

  • Chin implant (genioplasty): The chin is a distinct landmark on the face. When the chin is not proportional to the rest of the face it looks recessed and often appears as if it fades into the neck. Implants can add balance to the face by making the chin appear larger and more distinct. The surgical incision is typically made in the lower lip or underneath the chin. The implant is then inserted and shaped to create the desired effect.   
  • Jaw (mandible) implant: Similar to the chin, a recessed or small jaw can make the face appear imbalanced or undefined. A jaw implant is used to increase the width of the lower face and create a more distinguished line between the jaw and neck. Like the chin implant, the incision is usually in the lower lip.  
  • Cheek implants - As we age, the skin stretches, becomes thinner, and the fat pads lose substance. This is particularly noticeable in the cheek areas, which are typically voluminous and well defined. Cheek implants, also known as cheek augmentation, can help add body to flat cheeks and redefine the projection of the cheekbones. Implants make the patient look younger because it adds both volume and lift. During a cheek implant surgery, the incision is typically made inside the mouth to avoid any visible scarring. The implant is then inserted into the pocket-like area.  

Individualized Treatment Approach

At Mount Sinai, our expert facial plastic surgeons recognize that every case is unique. We work closely with each patient to individualize their treatment plan and chose a procedure that best meets their needs goals.

Facial implants are typically done on an outpatient basis at our private, Ambulatory Surgery Center. Cheek and chin implantation can be performed under local anesthesia, general anesthesia, or a combination of local anesthesia and sedation.

Combined Procedures: Face and Neck Lift and Eye Lift

Chin, jaw, and cheek implants are often performed in conjunction with a face and neck lift, eye lift, or forehead and brow life procedure. Whenever possible, procedures are combined together to reduce recovery time and operating costs. Our cosmetic surgeons frequently operate on multiple areas of the face at once and are highly skilled in combining multiple procedures.  

Alternative Approach: Soft Tissue Fillers Injections

Patients that are concerned about the appearance of their cheeks, but prefer a nonsurgical option, may benefit from soft tissue filler injections. Fillers are a minimally invasive procedure that use naturally occurring substances to volumize the face and fill in deep creases and wrinkles.

Cost of Facial Implants

While cost is always a concern, insurance generally does not cover surgery or treatment that is done purely for cosmetic reasons. We provide patients with expected costs prior to any intervention.

Facial Implant Postoperative Expectations and Care 

Facial implants are usually well-tolerated. Some mild discomfort and bruising may occur. Swelling surrounding the implant area may take several weeks to disappear. The full effect of the surgery could take a few months post-surgery, but patients will notice subtle changes shortly after the procedure. Patients should expect to return to work and social activities within one to two weeks after surgery.

Specific instructions about your after care will be provided by your surgeon. This will include how to treat the surgical site and medications to take orally or apply topically. The surgeon will also offer guidance regarding exercise and daily routines during your surgical consultation.