Cheekbone • Responsible for the contour of the face

The zygomatic bone is a bone of the skull of the face. High cheekbones give an expressive appearance, which is why the cheekbone often plays a role in cosmetic surgery.

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What is the cheekbone?

The zygomatic bone (Os zygomaticum; also called cheekbone or cheekbone) is a pair of bones of the facial skull that looks roughly square. Paired means that it consists of two parts that look the same on both halves of the face. The bone consists of the zygomatic body and its appendages. As a result, the zygomatic bone has a connection to the frontal bone, sphenoid bone, temporal bone and the upper jaw. Together with the temporal bone, the zygomatic bone forms the zygomatic arch (os temporale).

Where is the cheekbone located?

The cheekbone fits like a chamber between the eye socket, nasal cavity and jaw. One surface (facies orbitalis) participates in the lateral structure of the eye socket (orbita) and one surface (facies temporalis) on the temporal fossa (fossa temporalis). The cheekbones are an outwardly curved surface (facies lateralis). This is why the cheekbones are often referred to colloquially as cheekbones.

What is the function of the cheekbone?

The zygomatic bone fulfills a connection function, as it has connection points to the frontal, sphenoid and temporal bones as well as to the upper jaw. The zygomatic bones thereby form the shape of the face and important muscles attach to them. In addition, the zygomatic pillars transmit the chewing pressure. This main pressure comes from the molars when chewing and can be dissipated through the zygomatic bone to neutralize it.

Fracture of the zygomatic bone: fracture of the face

Due to the prominent position of the zygomatic bone, the bone is particularly susceptible to injuries caused by violence – for example during sports or a slap in the face. The cheekbone fracture is one of the most common facial skull injuries. It can occur, for example, when heads collide while jumping up in soccer or a tennis ball is thrown in the face with full force. Cheekbone contusions are also possible and can be accompanied by pain and swelling.

If the zygomatic bone breaks, there is a risk of impairment in neighboring regions such as the eyes or jaw. This could be, for example, severe pain in the jaw, inability to chew, visual disturbances such as double vision or brief facial paralysis due to pinched facial nerves. An x-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan will reveal the extent of the fracture. A cheekbone fracture is treated surgically.

Cheekbones: cosmetic surgery for a distinctive contour

Since the cheekbone is largely responsible for the contour of the face, cosmetic surgery also deals with the cheekbones. High, pronounced cheekbones are said to be an attribute of attractiveness, especially for women. Therefore, there may be a desire to highlight the cheekbones through a surgical measure. Such an operation may also be desirable for an asymmetrical face.

With a cheek correction, the cheek fullness is built up so that the cheekbones appear more pronounced. Various methods can be used for this:

  • Higher cheekbones from implants: To enlarge the cheeks, a surgeon places implants – made of silicone, for example – on the inside of the cheekbones. The implants remain in the body permanently.

  • Cheek enlargement through injection: Hydroxyapatite (a mineral that is a component of bones), hyaluronic acid or the body’s own fat is injected under the skin. This is intended to create more volume in this area. After an injection, the cheekbones appear temporarily higher: with hydroxyapatite the result lasts for about two years and with hyaluronic acid for about six months. If the body’s own fat is used, it can grow in permanently or it can be completely broken down again after about six months.

According to the German Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (DGÄPC), a cheek correction can cost from 4,000 euros. If the procedure is carried out for purely aesthetic reasons, the health insurance usually does not cover the costs. Congenital malformations, diseases or conditions after a broken bone can be exceptions: Here, the assumption of costs should be clarified in the individual case.

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Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by

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