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The cheek lift is a plastic surgery procedure designed to lift and tighten the cheek and a little of the jowl area. It is also referred to as numerous other names such as a short scar facelift, S-lift, J-lift, and trademarked names such as Lifestyle Lift and Quick Lift which are variations of the basic cheek lift procedure. It is suited for those who are looking for just a perk-up or light facial lift rather than a full facelift.

The cheek lift is best suited for younger patients (< 50 years of age) who have adequate or strong cheek bones, not a lot of loose skin, minimal jowling and maybe a little excess fat in the central neck area. This procedure is not a replacement for a cheek-neck lift or facelift if there is a lot of excess neck and jowl skin and fat.

For the cheek lift, thin incisions are made inside of the ear for women or in front of the ear for men . The incision is then carried up into the hairline, well back of the sideburn or temporal hairline. These incisions do, of course, result in scars although they are well-concealed within the hairline and inside of or in front of the ear. The skin in front of the incision is lifted after dissecting deep near the cheek area. This enables the loose cheek skin to be lifted up and back. I usually perform some SMAS elevation and imbrications as I don’t want to the long-term results to rely exclusively on the skin closure. These maneuvers provide for a long-lasting, natural results without a “pulled-back” look. Liposuction of the neck and other procedures such as blepharoplasty are often performed at the same time for a more complete rejuvenation or anti-aging effect. The cheek lift alone takes about an hour or so to complete.

Recovery after a cheek lift takes about a week at which time one can look fairly ‘non-surgical’.Swelling and bruising are quite minor. Showering is permitted the very next day with washing and blowdrying of hair. One can return to work in about one week but should wait for about two weeks before undertaking strenuous activities and exercise. The stitches are often dissolveable and require no removal.

The cheek lift is a nice gentle procedure that really is easier to go through and recover from than most would think. Do not confuse it with how most people envision as a facelift, which is a neck procedure primarily. It works best when it is combined with other facial procedures of which the list could be numerous nips and tucks, injectable fillers, or facial implants. In my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice, I find that it works well with a lot of other facial rejuvenation procedures and its effect is enhanced by doing so.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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