What is a mid-face lift/cheek lift?

A mid-face lift, also known as a cheek lift, addresses one of the earliest signs of aging – sagging of the cheeks and the surrounding area. For many, the traditional facelift may not fully treat the upper cheek and lower eyelid areas of the face, which often flatten and lengthen with age.

A cheek lift elevates the fat pad in the cheek (called the malar fat pad), providing fullness to the eyes and cheeks – leading to a refreshed, rejuvenated look. Results are more permanent than those offered by injectables, and recovery from a mid-face lift is quicker than a traditional facelift.

Why choose us?

When considering a mid-face lift, always look for a board-certified cosmetic surgeon with specialized training and significant experience. For the best results, choose a cosmetic surgeon who is affiliated with a major medical center, such as Cleveland Clinic.

Make sure to ask your cosmetic surgeon about his or her credentials, training and how many procedures he or she has performed.

How to Prepare

How to Prepare

Am I a candidate for a mid-face lift/cheek lift?

A mid-face lift (cheek lift) is a highly individualized procedure. Good candidates for a mid-face lift include:

  • Individuals with heaviness below the cheeks.
  • Individuals with hollowness beneath the eyes.
  • Healthy individuals who do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery.
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and specific, but realistic goals in mind for the improvement of their appearance.

How do I prepare for a mid-face lift/cheek lift?

Preparing for your mid-face lift procedure at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center may include:

  • Lab testing or a medical evaluation.
  • Taking certain medications or adjusting your current medications.
  • Stopping smoking well in advance of surgery.
  • Avoiding aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements due to increased risk of bleeding.
What to Expect

What to Expect

How is a mid-face lift/cheek lift performed?

Traditionally, a cheek lift elevates the sagging cheek tissue (malar fat pad) by using minimal incisions around the hairline and ear. This approach gives a more youthful appearance to the cheekbones and reduces the nasolabial laugh lines around the mouth. Sutures are then placed in the fat pad as it is pulled back up to its original position.

Cleveland Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center surgeons have fine-tuned the use of endoscopic cameras and other technological advances for mid-face lift procedures that target the skin and muscle tissue in the cheeks – tightening and smoothing the appearance of deep marionette lines (vertical lines that run downward from the outer corners of the mouth along the outside of the chin) and nasolabial folds. The mid-face lift surgery lasts approximately two hours, unless additional procedures are being completed at the same time.

What are the different types of mid-face lift/cheek lift procedures?

One of the newest approaches to the mid-face lift is the minimally invasive percutaneous mid-face lift (PML). Developed by Cleveland Clinic facial aesthetic surgeons, this minimally invasive face lift procedure reduces sagging skin below the eyes and diminishes lines around the mouth and nose through the use of very small incisions and without the need to cut tissue or muscle.

During a minimally invasive mid-face lift, your surgeon repositions the fat pad using a simple suspension system placed discreetly underneath the skin. A small incision in the hairline at your temple (between the ear and the forehead) and two tiny punctures on the cheek provide access for needles that are used to thread very fine sutures under the skin and through the top of the fat pad.

The sutures – two for each pad – are gently tightened until the fat pad is properly repositioned. Then, it is secured at the incision site on the side of the head to a tough tissue plane called the temporal fascia. The minimally invasive mid-face lift takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

Is a mid-face lift/cheek lift safe?

All surgical procedures carry some risk. Possible complications from a mid-face lift include:

  • Swelling and bruising.
  • Temporary numbness under the eyes.
  • Temporary muscles numbness when moving the middle portion of the face.
  • Blood clots (rare).
  • Hematoma (blood under the skin) or seroma (fluid under the skin).
  • Infection.
  • Hair loss along the incision.
  • Healing problems.


What results can I expect?

A mid-face lift can dramatically change your appearance. While your results will be immediate, the cheek pad may look “overcorrected,” but, over time, the cheek settles into a natural position. To maintain your results, it is important to follow up with your Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center cosmetic surgeon, as well as being mindful of life-long sun protection. View our cheek lift (mid-face lift) before and after photos to see results from actual patients. 

What is involved in recovery?

A cheek lift is performed under general anesthesia or conscious sedation and is performed as an outpatient procedure at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center locations. Recovery usually takes seven to 10 days, with most patients requiring only a week off from work or other regular activities. Minimal bruising and swelling after the procedure is eased by using ice for the first 24 to 48 hours.

Because your surgery will be completed as an outpatient, please make certain to bring someone with you to drive you home and stay with you for at least 24 hours following surgery.

Insurance & Financing

Insurance & Financing

Insurance rarely covers the cost of elective cosmetic surgery and procedures.

Please call 216.444.4004 and ask to speak with one of our financial representatives who can explain payment options including CareCredit financing.