Cheek filler is a fantastic skill for new injectors to master as this mid-face treatment can elevate a person’s entire look when done well.
Knowing how to properly inject dermal filler can allow you to achieve a range of results from one treatment. This includes sculpting the cheeks to restore volume loss, lift the mid-face and, when you get more advanced, even revolumise the tear trough areas.
It’s a great rejuvenating treatment that can refresh a patient’s look – which is important given the goal of many aesthetics patients is anti-ageing, or ageing well. In fact, a recent study published in the PLOS ONE journal found that facial movements, especially in the cheeks, contributed to people’s perception of others’ ages.
Here four Harley Academy aesthetics specialists, including our founder and director of education, provide their best advice to new injectors on getting started with cheek filler…
Be precise about the outline of the cheekbone
Dr Tristan Mehta, founder and executive chairman of Harley Academy; aesthetics specialist at and co-founder of STORY Marylebone
Really be precise about the outline of the cheekbone so that when you’re injecting you know you’re about to land on bone; you can draw on the outline of the zygomatic bone to help with your treatments as you can focus on your technique, rather than the underlying bone.
Make sure you’re on bone and change your needle regularly
Dr Kalpna Pindolia, director of education and aesthetics specialist at STORY Marylebone
For cheek filler, always make sure you’re gently on bone for supraperiosteal techniques. If you’re not, just withdraw the needle, palpate and try again.
Don’t over-promise results with 1ml of filler, it’s a tiny amount in practice.
Change your needle with supraperiosteal techniques as much as you need, they quickly become blunt.
Take your time and use both hands
Dr Joanna Hackney, clinical lead at Harley Academy
When you are first starting out in aesthetics, we teach a supraperiosteal bolus technique for treating cheeks. To successfully master this technique, my best advice would be to slow down. These injections are safest when not rushed.
Allow ample time to mark the patient up and select your injection points; take your time to find the bone; insert the needle perpendicularly to the bone. If you choose to aspirate, do it for a reasonable length of time (we advise 10 seconds). Inject slowly to reduce your risk of potential complications. Maintain gentle contact with the periosteum to ensure you remain at layer 5, and come out slowly too. Ensure you finish your bolus prior to withdrawing your needle.
Use both of your hands – one can be helping to stabilise the needle and syringe – particularly helpful during aspiration.
I agree with Dr Kal that you should change your needle frequently – every 3 injections or so – as this technique can result in blunting of the needle tip. This then leads to increased discomfort for the patient and a higher potential complication risk.
Understand ageing and manage patients’ expectations
Dr Mariam Michail, clinical trainer and aesthetics specialist.
Set realistic expectations with your patient! If they need several syringes of filler to achieve their desired outcome, always discuss this with them before treatment. This allows for an open and honest discussion, taking into account their concerns, anticipated results and budget.
Understand the ageing process. This will help guide product selection, treatment layer and technique to give the most natural, rejuvenated results.
Cheek filler injector training courses
If you’re a healthcare professional – licensed doctor, dentist, nurse or midwife – who wants to get started in aesthetic medicine and are interested in learning more about cheek filler injecting, we have two routes available to you.
The Level 7 Diploma in Botox and Dermal Fillers is the equivalent of a Master’s degree in aesthetics and is the gold standard in UK aesthetic medicine qualifications. This takes you from theory to practice under the expert guidance of experienced mentors. In addition to cheek filler, it also covers dermal fillers in other areas including the jawline, chin and lips, as well as botulinum toxin so you are fully grounded in a holistic approach to facial rejuvenation.
One-to-one personal injectables training is another option with dedicated 1:1 Training in Mid-Face and Cannula sessions. Led by one of our specialist clinical trainers, you will get their undivided attention during this period which will be tailored to your precise needs. Whether you want to improve your technique, boost your confidence or learn new approaches, this is an invaluable personalised learning experience for new injectors and those wanting to up-skill.
Download our latest prospectus to find out more about the array of aesthetic medicine training courses available at Harley Academy and start your journey to aesthetics excellence!
We hope you find our experts’ cheek filler advice useful and would love to hear from you if you try any of these tips out in practice. Let us know via the Harley Academy Comma platform if you’re a student or over on our Instagram account and we’ll get right back to you.
Last fact-checked: 26 January 2023