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Facelift, Injectable Fillers, Face, Nonsurgical

The Best Procedures and Treatments for Sagging Cheeks

When she smiles, it’s infectious.

Her lips curl up slightly to reveal deep dimples. Her adorable, freckled nose wrinkles. Her prominent cheekbones display plump, taut skin.

It doesn’t matter if she is a popular supermodel or the girl next door...

She's confident, and it shows!

Confidence captivates with infectious power. Everyone wants it, yet it remains out of reach for so many.

As we age, the confidence we once had can begin to fade. We glance in mirrors and see wrinkles, sagging cheeks, and drooping that wasn't there in our youth.

If you find this resonates, rest assured. There are ways to get that confident feeling back.

Fixing Sagging Cheeks

Genetics, paired with the effects of aging, can cause the facial tissues and skin to experience gradual relaxation. As the skin loses elasticity, gravity kicks in and we experience "sagging cheeks."

Faces also lose volume over time, leading to a hollowed look in the cheeks. When combined with loosening skin, your face can start to look a lot older than you feel.

Thankfully, there is something you can do about it!

Improving the tone of your face, lifting loose skin, and bringing back a youthful appearance is as simple as choosing the right solution to fix your problem.

Whether that solution involves a surgical or nonsurgical procedure, choosing the right plastic surgeon is important.

Two More Quick Questions

Discovering the Right Facial Treatment

There are many surgical and nonsurgical facial rejuvenation procedures to choose from depending on your individual goals. Dr. Fan has helped thousands of women identify the best solution for them, and erase insecurities due to sagging cheeks.

While this article is a good place to learn more about the types of treatments and solutions to saggy cheeks, we suggest reaching out to your plastic surgeon to make the best decision for your needs. In this post, we will explore the most popular treatments to lift sagging cheeks. But first, let's put these treatments into context.

When rejuvenating the face, there are four focuses: "The 4 R's of Facial Rejuvenation."

  • Redrape: Redrape, lift, and tighten sagging skin and support tissues via Facelift, Neck Lift, Eyelid Surgery, Brow Lift, Ultherapy
  • Refill: Fill lost volume with Fat Transfer or Injectable Fillers
  • Repair: Repair skin damage through Skin Rejuvenation, Laser Skin Resurfacing, IPL Photofacial
  • Relax: Relax facial muscles that cause lines with Botox or Brow Lift

When it comes to sagging cheeks, the procedures fall mainly into the first two categories. We need to both tighten the skin and fill in lost volume for a younger, natural looking face.

Redraping: Treatments to Tighten the Skin

There are many options for tightening facial skin. When selecting a plastic surgeon, you should choose one who is experienced with many different procedures - so you will get the right procedure, not just the one your surgeon is most comfortable performing.

Skin tightening procedures can be broken down into 3 categories: Surgical, Nonsurgical, and Minimally Invasive.

Surgical Skin Tightening Treatments

Facial rejuvenation surgery is often the most effective and lasting way to treat visible signs of facial drooping including sagging cheeks.


The crème de la crème of facial rejuvenation, a facelift raises sagging skin and support tissues. For cases where the skin has significant loss of elasticity, the facelift is by far the most effective way to tighten the skin and safely remove extra skin.

A facelift rejuvenates the mid-to-lower face by:

  • Tightening jowls
  • Defining the jawline
  • Lifting and filling cheeks
  • Smoothing the neckline
  • Providing long-lasting improvement

See Before/After Photos In Our Photo Gallery

There are many different variants of the facelift procedure. Learn more about facelifts, here.

Mini Facelift

For patients with milder skin elasticity issues, a mini facelift can be administered in place of a full facelift. Your surgeon will use smaller incisions to lift muscle and tissue, remove excess fat, and raise or trim excess skin.

Results of the mini facelift are less dramatic than those of a full facelift. But for some patients, it may be the perfect solution to tighten up those cheeks.

Nonsurgical Skin Tightening Treatments

Nonsurgical skin tightening treatments can help restore the tone of the skin without surgery. It's important to have realistic expectations as the results from these treatments are typically mild (and certainly much more mild compared to those achieved from surgery!). Choosing an experienced and honest plastic surgeon who can assess whether you are a good candidate for a nonsurgical skin tightening treatment is also important.


Ultherapy safely uses ultrasound technology to curb the effects of time and gravity on your skin - giving you tighter, smoother skin.

Why Ultherapy?

  • It's nonsurgical.
  • It stimulates new collagen production.
  • It gradually lifts skin at your body’s own pace.
  • It smooths lines and wrinkles on the eyebrow, neck, and decolletage.

Ultherapy stimulates your own collagen production. You may notice a difference right away, however, most results take place over 3-9 months.

The length of results depends on your natural aging process, and comfort level varies from person to person.

Other treatments also tighten your skin with differing levels of effectiveness and longevity of results. If you prefer nonsurgical treatments, talk to your plastic surgeon about which nonsurgical treatments may be a good fit for you.

Minimally Invasive Skin Tightening Treatments

Minimally invasive skin tightening treatments for facial rejuvenation are a middle category of treatments between surgical and non-surgical treatments. These treatments are typically performed in the office under local anesthesia and have shorter recovery times compared to surgery. These treatments are typically less effective than surgery but more effective than nonsurgical treatments. Having realistic expectations and the guidance of an experienced and honest plastic surgeon are key.

Subdermal Skin Tightening (eg. ThermiTight)

There are a number of minimally invasive medical devices that apply thermal energy beneath the skin to achieve a limited degree of skin tightening and firming. The best known device in this category, called ThermiTight, uses radiofrequency ("RF") energy to stimulate collagen production to smooth and tighten sagging skin.

A tiny probe is used to apply thermal energy to tissues under the skin. The tissue and skin temperature are constantly monitored to ensure the treatment is safe.

The procedure is usually quick and easy, with patients experiencing little-to-no downtime.

Are You a Facelift Candidate?

Treatments to Restore Lost Volume

For some patients, simply tightening the skin won't completely recapture that youthful complexion. Lost volume in the cheeks magnifies the effects of aging.

If you're looking to restore lost volume, there are many treatments your surgeon may recommend. The following treatments are some of the most popular options.

Non-Surgical Facial Volume Restoration

1. Injectable Fillers

Fillers are an ideal solution to help restore lost facial volume and smooth and tighten facial skin. An injectable filler is ideal for someone looking to target a specific area of their face, like their cheeks. Fillers aim to smooth both deep facial wrinkles and less prominent lines.

Your skin's elasticity, and the natural contours of your face, are major factors in individual results. More information can be found on the details and specific kinds of injectable fillers here.

Surgical Facial Volume Restoration

2. Fat Grafting

In some instances, a fat transfer offers a healthy solution to hollowed cheeks.

In this procedure, your surgeon removes fat from other areas of the body (usually the abdomen or thighs) and transfers the fat to a targeted area of the face. Very small amounts of fat are removed during this treatment, and carefully placed where needed to help plump up the face.

3. Cheek Implants

For some individuals, implants are the best solution for longer-lasting, more dramatic results. Your surgeon will recommend this treatment if you are a good candidate.

What’s Next?

So you’ve decided to take the next step to restore your youthful cheeks? Congratulations!

To get started on your journey, take a look through before and after photos to get a clear idea of the results you'd like. Next, you'll want to choose a reputable, board-certified surgeon who has experience with the previously mentioned techniques.

Dr. Larry Fan, an ABPS-certified plastic surgeon with a proven record of success, and his talented team would be happy to discuss your desired results with you and help select the right procedure for you.

Alternatively, fill out our self-evaluation to discover which treatments you may be a good candidate to receive.

Wondering if you're a candidate?


About the Author

Dr. Larry Fan is a Harvard educated, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in San Francisco, CA. He is a Master Artist who is known for creating beautiful, stunning, and natural results. Dr. Fan has been named One of America's Top Plastic Surgeons for the past 10 years running and has received several national awards for his work in Plastic Surgery. He has successfully performed more than 10,000 cosmetic procedures of the face, breasts, and body over a 20 year period. Dr Fan has been an invited speaker at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons, and has been featured in national media outlets such as CNN, NBC, and ABC.

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