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Cheek Fillers vs Cheek Implants: Which One Works Better?

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Some people want to achieve a fuller and plumper facial structure, which can easily be done with today’s innovations in aesthetics. Cheek fillers and cheek implants are some of the safest and easiest ways to get that youthful look, with many aesthetic centers providing these services to clients.

But which one is the better choice for improving one’s appearance? Both cheek fillers and cheek implants add volume to the face, but implants are permanent and fillers aren’t. Cheek implants are more surgically invasive, require more downtime, but provide long-lasting results. Meanwhile, cheek fillers are minimally invasive and allow you to proceed with your daily tasks shortly after. To get the results you want, it’s best to consult with your provider.

How Cheek Fillers and Cheek Implants Stack Up Against Each Other

Cheek ImplantsCheek Fillers
Permanent additions to the faceLast for 6 months to 2 years
Require a surgical procedure for applicationMinimally invasive
Placement and number of implants is permanentPatients can add or lessen fillers as they wish
Requires anesthesiaDoesn’t require anesthesia
Patients can return to work after 5 daysPatients can return to daily activities immediately

Cheek fillers and cheek implants are treatments that decrease facial lines and plump up the face. They’re often used to minimize signs of aging. Although they have similar names, these treatments have a lot of differences—for instance, cheek implants are designed to permanently augment the facial structure. Cheek fillers only last for a few months or years, allowing patients to return to a natural look.

Preparations and Procedures

For cheek fillers, patients will be asked to stop any blood-thinning medications at least 2 weeks before the procedure. These include NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) and anticoagulants (rivaroxaban, dabigatran, apixaban). Your doctor will ask you about your medical history. Any underlying conditions should be disclosed, especially cardiovascular disorders. You will also be briefed about the specifics of the procedure.

On the day of the procedure, a doctor will first numb the treatment area with a topical anesthetic or a numbing agent. The injection process only takes around 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the area. You can immediately go home after finishing the procedure. Effects will start to be visible after 1 to 2 days.

Facial implants require surgery to be applied to the face. After you’ve been cleared for the operation, your doctor will give you anesthesia to make the procedure as painless as possible. The plastic surgeon will make a small cut inside the oral cavity in the shape of the implant.

The implant will then be placed inside the opening, allowing it to stabilize and hold its position. Some surgeons make the incisions under the lower eyelid, depending on their assessment of the patient’s needs.

Patients will experience bruising and swelling after the cheek augmentation procedure. You can return home after a couple of hours, but someone will have to accompany and drive you home. You can resume daily activities around 5 to 7 days after facial implant surgery.


Cheek fillers are good for achieving short-term results. They usually only last for 6 to 24 months, allowing the patient to assess if they prefer their natural look or not. Dermal fillers are best used to increase the volume of the cheekbone area. They can also minimize wrinkles and other facial lines.

On the other hand, cheek implants are best for patients who have severely sunken cheeks. Dermal fillers may not be enough to provide the desired volume for some cases, which is where permanent augmentation becomes more useful. If you’re looking for a long-term solution to sunken cheeks, facial plastic implants are the more appropriate solution.


Cheek fillers are made out of absorbable materials, such as hyaluronic or polylactic acid. These degrade after a few months or years with no complications. Most dermal filler formulations also contain lidocaine, a natural anesthetic that helps ease the patient’s discomfort during the operation.

Cheek implants are made from silicone or other solid materials that safely interact with human tissue. Some implants are designed to bind directly to the cheekbones. Although permanently part of the face, these materials are non-toxic and will feel similar to the natural parts of the face.

Which Cheek Augmentation Procedure Is Better for You?

Determining which cheek augmentation procedure is better for you requires careful assessment of your aesthetic goals. If you want to test out the augmentation procedure first, fillers are the better option. They will allow you to see if the modified facial structure is preferable for you. However, getting a facial implant may be more sustainable if you want a permanent and one-stop solution right away.

Ideal Candidates for Each Procedure

Cheek fillers are better for patients who are concerned about slowing down signs of aging. Fillers are also more appropriate for people who want to return to their previous facial structure rather than modify it permanently. Patients who have the time and money to undergo additional treatments will also be more suitable for fillers. Additionally, people unfit for plastic surgery may pursue fillers instead.

Those looking for a permanent enhancement to the face will be more satisfied with implants. The procedure is a one-time facial plastic surgery, so the long-term costs will also be less than repeated facial filler appointments. If you don’t have underlying conditions, you’re also more likely to be a candidate for plastic surgery.


Facial plastic implants have a higher upfront cost since they require a surgical operation. In the United States, cheek augmentation surgery may cost around $2,500 to $3,700, depending on the location and portfolio of the plastic surgeon.

For fillers, a syringe costs anywhere from $600 to $1,200. A single treatment session is significantly cheaper than getting implants. But if you’re thinking of getting repeated treatments, the costs may also reach similar amounts.

Frequency of Treatment

Cheek implants only require a single cosmetic surgery. Fillers typically require 2 to 5 treatments before you achieve your desired look. You will need to undergo repeated injections to maintain the results. The intervals will be determined by your doctor based on your initial results.

What to Expect After Getting Cheek Fillers or Cheek Implants

Both of the procedures are generally safe. You may experience different side effects depending on which treatment you choose to pursue. Make sure to watch out for any adverse reactions during the recovery period. Notify your doctor immediately if you experience profuse bleeding or signs of infection.

Side Effects

For cheek fillers, most patients will feel slight bruising and swelling at the injection site. Most side effects are localized to the treatment area and resolve within a few weeks. Some of the common ones include:

  • Bruising and swelling
  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Rashes
  • Tenderness
  • Slight weakness and pain
  • Risk of infection

For cheek implants, bruising and swelling may last for a few weeks. The procedure is quite invasive, and the wound may take longer to heal. You may need to wear an elastic bandage or compression garment to help with swelling. Side effects include:

  • Bruising and swelling
  • Difficulty moving the face
  • Bleeding
  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Scarring
  • Nausea from the anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Risk of infection

Recovery and Aftercare

For cheek fillers, it’s best to avoid sleeping on the sides to prevent intense contact with the cheeks. Sleep on your back for at least 7 days following the procedure. You should also avoid strenuous exercise to prevent exacerbating bruising and swelling. Refrain from touching the face to minimize the risk of infection.

If you underwent facial implant surgery for a cheek implant application, make sure to follow your plastic surgeon’s post-operative instructions. These include proper care for the surgical site. You may also need to take oral medications to encourage healing and prevent infection.

Make sure to watch out for signs of infection, including intense pain, pus leakage, and fever. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you experience these symptoms. Avoid intense physical activities for 10 to 14 days or until your doctor tells you it’s safe. You may also need to wear an elastic bandage for additional safety and comfort.

High-Quality Cheek Augmentation Treatments at Dr. Lanna Aesthetics

woman undergoes cheek fillers procedure

Whether you pursue cheek filler or implants, it’s important to have a safe and reliable provider throughout your treatment. A team of well-trained surgeons and healthcare providers can help you prepare and recover from your procedure with ease.

At Dr. Lanna Aesthetics, we’ll work with you hands-on to come up with a treatment plan with your aesthetic goals in mind. Get in touch with us today to book an appointment.

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