Cheek-plumping injectable filler gets FDA nod

Cheek-plumping injectable filler gets FDA nod
Cheek-plumping injectable filler gets FDA nod

"Round, plump cheeks look young. Saggy, sunken ones look old," according to a New York Times article on facial rejuvenation. The latest trend is for plastic surgeons to increase facial volume. In the past the trend was to see a line and fill it. While this can make you look better, it may not necessarily make you look younger.

One of the least publicized signs of aging is volume loss in the cheek area from a combination of fat and bone absorption. This results in sagging skin and hollowing that increases slowly over time. Faces deflate with age as the skeletal structure thins and the cheekbones recede and get smaller. The medial fat pad, which gives young cheeks plumpness, thins out and moves down with the pull of gravity. And collagen production slows, so skin is no longer as thick and firm as it was.

To meet the needs of those with sagging cheeks, there is now an injectable filler, Voluma, specifically designed for the cheek area. It recently won FDA-approval for this purpose.

Voluma is a hyaluronic acid (HA), like Restylane. The difference is that Voluma lasts in the cheeks for up to two years while Restylane is viable for a much shorter time period. Voluma comes to the U.S. after being approved and used in 72 countries, earning a good reputation for restoring cheek volume.

A hidden bonus of Voluma is that while injecting it adds volume to the cheeks, it also softens and helps lift the folds by the mouth. Voluma gel contains lidocaine to numb pain and is meant to be injected at a deep level on top of the cheek bones.

Voluma injections take relatively little time, and the only common side effects are swelling and bruising. Another cheek augmentation modality is cheek implants (small silicone pouches surgically inserted over the cheekbone), which have the advantage of being permanent. But implants are best for those with a deficiency of cheekbones, not fat. If you have facial volume loss, consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to see what procedure will benefit you the most.