What is buccal fat removal?

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. 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.

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.

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

How should I prepare for buccal fat removal?

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.

 

What are the steps of a buccal fat removal procedure?

A buccal fat removal procedure includes the following steps:

Step 1 – Anesthesia

  • Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – The incision

  • A buccal fat removal surgery requires an incision on the inside of the mouth, on the inner portion of your cheek. Occasionally, the buccal fat pad may be removed during a facelift and not necessitate an incision inside the mouth.

Step 3 – Closing the incisions

  • Sutures close the incisions inside your mouth. Typically, these sutures are absorbable, but each plastic surgeon performs the surgery differently. Be sure to avoid playing with the sutures with your tongue until cleared by your surgeon.

Step 4 – See the results

  • Your buccal fat removal surgery will result in a slimmer, more contoured cheek, specifically in the cheek hollow area.

 

 

What should I expect during my buccal fat removal recovery?

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

Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.

  • Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
  • What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
  • Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? When will they be removed?
  • When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
  • When do I return for follow-up care?

Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling decreases. Continue to follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.