Getting Cheeky


ProfileIt’s no surprise that Hollywood stars often serve as inspiration for plastic surgery trends. Celebrities’ sultry eyes, pouty lips, and perfect noses are among the many requests that are brought to doctors. The latest craze, according to Amy Forman Taub, M.D., founder of Advanced Dermatology and Skinfo Specialty Skincare Boutique  (Lincolnshire, IL), revolves around chiseled cheekbones a la Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. She recently published a study, entitled “Cheek Augmentation Improves Feelings of Facial Attractiveness,” in the September 2012 issue of The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. In the study, Taub analyzed 10 women, ages 40 to 60, who received aesthetic filler in their cheeks in order to look younger and more rejuvenated. Before treatment, the women rated how they felt about their appearance on a scale of one to six. Then, they received 1.0 cc of Perlane filler in each cheek. At a two-week follow-up appointment, the women were asked again to rate how they felt about their appearance. Seven of 10 felt one half to two points better about their looks. Here, she explains her results and dishes on why cheek enhancement is a trend that is here to stay.

Why do you think that cheekbones are such a focus for clients right now? Volume enhancement is the key to youthfulness of the face. Babies have full cheeks, and teenagers have full cheeks and faces. As we age, the cheeks start to flatten out due to sagging, causing a downward, fallen look, as well as a more apparent nasolabial fold. This makes people look tired and adds to the impression of aging. By refilling the cheek, we reverse the fold and cause the eye to perceive the face as lifted and more youthful.

How can enhancing the cheekbones improve one's appearance? When women are younger, they have a heart-shaped face. As they age, the face becomes more rectangular, with a heavier base. By giving the cheeks more fullness, the face looks less bottom-heavy and more lifted.

Who are some of the celebrities clients most want to emulate when it comes to cheekbone enhancement? Is there a certain look that seems to be most popular now? If you look at the classic beauties like Halle Berry and Catherine Zeta-Jones, they have the true heart-shaped face with smooth full high cheekbones—that is an important linchpin of their beauty.

What are some options available to clients when it comes to cheek augmentation? The options for cheek enhancement include different types of fillers, such as hyaluronic acids (Restylane, Perlane, and Juvederm), hydroxylapatite (Radiesse), poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra), or fat. Each of these fillers has advantages and disadvantages. My filler of choice for cheek augmentation is the hyaluronic acid family. They have immediate results, they are soft and natural looking and feeling, and they can be reversed if necessary. My technique is to use one to two syringes of Perlane. I prefer this filler, as it holds its shape well. The filler is placed deep, which is important for it to retain its shape and be natural looking, as well as natural feeling.

How long do the results last, and what can clients do to maintain the look of cheekbone augmentation? The results last six months to one year. It is easy to touch up and maintain, and there is minimal risk.

Overall, what is your end goal when it comes to cheek enhancement?It is to help patients feel better about and more confident in their appearance. It’s clear that using fillers in the cheeks meets both goals and is a viable treatment for women who want to look and feel their best.