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Posts Tagged ‘reduction malarplasty’

Zygomatic Osteotomy Patterns in Cheek Reduction Surgery

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

The shape of the face obviously changes in different geographic regions and cultures. This is certainly true in facial aesthetics between Western and Asian cultures. One of the facial features that is really different between these two cultures is the cheek region. In the Western face a high or protruding cheek is regarded as both youthful and aesthetically pleasing. In contrast, high or prominent cheekbones is regarded as unaesthetic in the Asian face. In a face that is generally smaller overall, prominent cheekbones can look really big in an Asian face.

Because of the desire to not have protruding cheeks in an Asian face, cheek reduction or reduction malarplasty is a very common operation in Eastern Asian countries. It is an extremely uncommon facial operation in Caucasians although I have seen and done a few such cheek reductions over the years in my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice.

Most cheek reductions use both an anterior and posterior osteotomy. The anterior osteotomy goes somewhere through the body of the cheek or zygoma while the posterior osteotomy cuts the attachment of the zygomatic arch to the temporal bone. The posterior osteotomy has very little variation in performing it. But the anterior osteotomy cut has some variation in placement and design due to the different sizes and shapes of the zygomatic bone. How it is cut and how much bone is removed determines how much volume reduction is achieved and whether the area of maximum cheek protrusion is effectively reduced.

The easiest anterior approach to cheek reduction is to separate the front edge of the zygomatic arch where it attaches to the posterior body of the zygoma. This junction is certainly easy to see intraoperatively from the intraoral approach. While easily cut, however, shifting of the zygomatic arch medially can leave the protrusion point of the cheek bone in some patients unchanged. This can be remedied by burring the body of the zygoma down to be even with the repositioned zygomatic arch. However, it can be hard to get the junction between the bone edges smooth and it may also be structurally unstable.

When the protrusion point of the zygoma is more anterior than the junction, a different osteotomy pattern is used. An L pattern osteotomy design is used with two pairs of osteotomy cuts on the anterior surface of the zygoma. When it is cut this way and a sagittal section of bone removed, the zygoma and the attached zygomatic body are moved inward as a unit. This will ensure that a smooth zygoma will result and it will be more stable.

In an interesting paper published in the November 2011 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, plastic surgeons from Tokyo studied the position of the ‘summit’ of the zygoma. The summit is just another name for the maximal point of cheek protrusion. Knowing where it is located in any patient is obviously important when planning the cheek reduction operation. Their study showed that the summit of the zygoma is located medial to the junction of the frontal process and the zygomatic arch. The bone incision line in cheek reductions, therefore, should be placed medial to the posterior edge of the frontal process to get effective reduction of the protrusion. Not surprisingly, the zygomatic summit is higher in men than women due to a bigger cheekbone and then so should the bone incision be placed also.

Prior to cheek bone reduction surgery, I like to get a simple submental facial x-ray to locate the the point of maximal bony cheek protrusion which can be easily seen on the film. This helps to determine the best cheek osteotomy type.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

A New Technique for Reduction Malarplasty for Prominent Cheekbones

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

The cheekbone or zygoma is one of the highlights of the midface area. Most Caucasians prefer a well-defined and prominent cheekbone which can be weak from congenital development or an injury. This is why cheek implants are a common cosmetic procedure in this population. Conversely, by comparison, Orientals prefer a softer facial contour but usually have more prominent zygomas  by development. As a result, reduction of the cheekbone or malarplasty is a common cosmetic procedure for them.

Cheek bone reduction is a well described operation for which a variety of bone cutting and reducing approaches have been described. In my Indianapolis plastic surgery experience, an osteotomy at the front and back of the long zygomatic arch using a combined intraoral and perauricular incision has been a common successful approach.

To make the reduction malarplasty operation simpler but still effective, a variation of the osteotomy has been described. In the October 2009 issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, a new L-shaped osteotomy through an intraoral approach is described. In an impressive 418 cases, the frontal L-shaped zygomatic body included two parallel vertical osteotomies (with bone removal) and one oblique osteotomy. This was then combined with a greenstick fracture at the root of the zygomatic arch from an inside approach. The vertical osteotomies allow good control of the reduction which is then secured with small plates and screws. It offers the advantages of being done completely inside the mouth with very controlled bone cuts and secure stabilization of the repositioned segments. They had a very high satisfaction rate of 96% with the potential for late complications of cheek asymmetry and soft tissue sagging (ptosis) due to over stripping of the attached soft tissues.

Reducing prominent cheekbones can and should be a fairly simple procedure with very predictable results.This new modified technique appears to offer advantages that make that a reality. White this technique may expose the maxillary sinus that is of no consequence as we know from a lot of experience in LeFort osteotomies and cheek bone fracture repair. The design of this new zygoma osteotomy even makes it theoretically possible to be used for lateral cheekbone expansion in cases of post traumatic infracture repair.  

Barry L. Eppley, M.D., D.M.D.

Indianapolis, Indiana


Dr. Barry EppleyDr. Barry Eppley

Dr. Barry Eppley is an extensively trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon with more than 20 years of surgical experience. He is both a licensed physician and dentist as well as double board-certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This training allows him to perform the most complex surgical procedures from cosmetic changes to the face and body to craniofacial surgery. Dr. Eppley has made extensive contributions to plastic surgery starting with the development of several advanced surgical techniques. He is a revered author, lecturer and educator in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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