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Dr. Michaels' Blog

Juvederm Voluma XC, fat grafting or cheek implants; which is right for you?

We lose our cheek fat with aging, going from baby fat to gaunt over our lifetime. Replacing this lost fat has become a major technique for facial rejuvenation, returning the youthful curves of the medial, central and lateral cheek. Twenty years ago the only commonly available technique for cheek augmentation was surgical placement of silastic implants. Many shapes were created to mimic the lost fat because everyone loses fat in different places; some need it on the lateral cheeks, some need it closer to the nose, and some need it in the lower cheek. Cheek implants are still an important tool for the cosmetic surgeon because when done well, implants are a permanent solution.

In the 1990’s surgeons began using fat from other locations like your abdomen or thighs to replace lost facial fat. The concept of replacing lost fat with fat makes sense. Interestingly the fat harvested from your abdomen or thigh has a genetic memory and when successfully transplanted to your face, does not melt away with time. The fat harvested with gentle liposuction is injected into the face wherever needed and is not restricted to a particular shape like an implant. But like implants, fat injections are still a surgical procedure.

Juvederm Voluma XC became available in the fall of 2013 and is the first FDA approved non-surgical method for cheek augmentation. Like the original Juvederm, Voluma is Hyaluronic Acid (HA), a normal component of your skin. What makes Voluma special is the cross linking of the HA which makes it last up to 2 years. As an injectable it can be placed wherever you need it, in an office setting, with no anesthesia and minimal downtime.