The goal of buccal fat removal is to thin the cheeks, specifically in the area of the cheek hollows. Although a face that is naturally soft and filled out is considered youthful, some people find that their face feels too full, even chubby. A buccal fat removal removes the buccal fat pad, a naturally-occurring pad of fat in the cheek hollow area.
Buccal Fat Removal
What is buccal fat removal?
The size of the buccal fat pad varies with each individual patient, and the buccal fat pad in each cheek may be different sizes. Buccal fat pad extraction surgery is typically not performed in people with thin, narrow faces as removal of the fat may cause the face to look more gaunt with age.
What are the steps of a buccal fat removal procedure?
What You should know / Frequently Ask Questions
Buccal fat removal surgery is a highly individualized procedure. It can address concerns for patients who are worried about full or chubby cheeks. If you are considering this procedure, be sure to do it for yourself, not for someone else or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
In general, you may be a good buccal fat removal candidate if:
- You are physically healthy and at a stable weight
- You have realistic expectations
- You are a nonsmoker
- You are bothered by the appearance of your chubby cheeks
If you’re considering surgery, spend some time reviewing buccal fat removal surgery photos and learning about what to expect during recovery. Preparation ahead of time helps patients have reasonable expectations and a smoother recovery.
The decision to have buccal fat removal surgery is extremely personal. You’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of buccal fat removal surgery are acceptable.
Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedures you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.
The possible risks of buccal fat removal surgery include, but are not limited to:
- Poor healing of incisions
- Anesthesia risks
- Fluid accumulation (seroma)
- Numbness or other changes in sensation
- Prolonged swelling
- Injury to branches of the facial nerve, resulting in temporary or permanent facial muscle weakness
- Injury to a salivary duct
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Suboptimal aesthetic result and/or minimal changes
- Possibility of reversional surgery
- Persistent pain
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It’s important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
In preparing for buccal fat removal surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Buccal fat removal surgery is typically performed in a hospital, licensed ambulatory surgery setting or in an in-office procedure room. If your buccal fat removal is performed with general anesthesia or intravenous sedation, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
Following your buccal fat removal surgery, you may be instructed to stay on a liquid diet for several days or longer. Your surgeon may instruct you on special mouth rinses to reduce the risk of infection.
You will be given specific instructions that may include:
- How to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
- When to follow up with your plastic surgeon
The final results of buccal fat removal surgery may be initially obscured by swelling. It may take several months for you to see the final results, as your cheeks gradually contour to their new appearance. The cheeks should appear less full or chubby in post-op results.
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.
When you go home after surgery, if you experience shortness of breath, chest pains or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.