Research > Buccal Fat Removal

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Buccal Fat Removal
Cheek Reduction Surgery


Buccal fat Many people are pleased with the appearance of their cheeks, but others, both young and old, are very self-conscious about the appearance of their cheeks. Most of these individuals complain their cheeks look round and chubby. The cause is cheek fat, known as buccal fat.

Buccal fat are pads of fat that augment the lower part of the cheeks. These “chubby cheeks,” or “chipmunk cheeks,” can result from a variety of conditions. Overweight is one condition, while a genetic predisposition can also cause one to have round cheeks. Buccal fat removal, also called cheek reduction surgery, offers a solution to those who want to reduce the size of their cheeks. Removal of these fat pads can slim the cheeks and contour the face. This can help people achieve a more chiseled and hollowed look.

With the increasing popularity of various cosmetic surgery procedures, including buccal fat removal, it is important that the prospective patient research and understand different issues like what the procedure can and cannot treat, inherent risks, costs, and other factors. Keep in mind, cosmetic surgery is just that – a surgical procedure whose results cannot simply be erased. While the information contained in this website will provide you with a good introduction to buccal fat removal, when considering this or any other cosmetic procedure, we recommend that you consult a qualified provider with significant experience. Some important elements you should understand regarding this procedure include the following:

Who would best Represent an Ideal Candidate for Buccal Fat Removal?

The ideal candidate for buccal fat removal is:
  • more than eighteen years of age
  • physically fit
  • a non-smoker
  • optimistic
  • realistic with the goals of the surgery

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Where do I begin?

Those considering buccal fat removal should first find a qualified cosmetic surgeon to perform the procedure. CosmeticSurgery.com has created an easy and effective way for patients to find a cosmetic surgeon online. For more information please
CLICK HERE.

This is an important step to the procedure. During consultations, doctors can learn more about their patients and vice versa. This visit gives them a chance to evaluate the current state of the patients’ cheeks, their age and their medical history. As a result, the doctor can determine the patient’s options. These visits also allow the specialists to inform the patient of the benefits, precautions, risks, methods used and other important information.

Consultation visits additionally give patients the opportunity to talk about their goals and expectations for buccal fat removal and to ask any other questions. It is important that patients are well-informed about the procedure before making a decision.

Be sure to discuss with your surgeon the amount of fat that can and should be removed. Having too much fat taken out before patients reach their mid-20’s may result in a gaunt look.
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How is Buccal Fat Removal Performed?

The buccal fat removal procedure may be performed in the cosmetic surgeon’s office-based facility, an outpatient surgery center, or at a hospital. This procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis, taking about one hour to perform.

During the buccal fat removal, patients are usually under local anesthesia, meaning they will be awake but drowsy and insensitive to pain. The surgeon creates an incision about 2 to 3 cm long between the cheek and gums, starting above the second upper molar towards the back of the mouth. The incision exposes the fascia and fibers of the main cheek muscle (buccinator). By applying pressure externally under the cheek bone, the surgeon causes the buccal fat to protrude through the incision. The surgeon then teases the fat out with forceps or surgical tweezers. After a collective amount is removed, the surgeon then closes the incisions.

Surgeons may also perform facial
liposuction. to remove fat deposits from the cheek. However, unlike buccal fat excision, liposuction can leave visible scars and incisions.

Please inquire with your surgeon as to which technique works best for you.
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What are the Benefits of Buccal Fat Removal?

There are many benefits to this procedure including:
  • Thinner cheeks
  • More defined cheeks
  • Enhancing appearance
  • Gaining a boost in self-esteem
  • Feeling more confident

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What you should expect after undergoing buccal fat removal?

It is normal to feel pain and discomfort after undergoing surgery. With buccal fat removal, patients can expect swelling and difficulty chewing for a few days, up to a week. Most patients usually return to work in about a week following surgery. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s post-op instructions to ensure better healing and to reduce any possible complications.

It usually takes about four months after surgery to see the final results of the buccal fat removal procedure, which are permanent.
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What Are the Risks and Limitations of Buccal Fat Removal?

All forms of cosmetic surgery carry some degree of risk. With buccal fat removal, infection and adverse reactions to the anesthetic are the biggest possible risks.

Numbness is normal after undergoing surgery, and usually subsides after a few weeks. Loss of sensation is usually found around the incision lines, on the central cheeks, or the jawline. In rare cases, the numbness can be a long-term, possibly permanent condition.

Those considering buccal fat removal before their mid-20’s should take into account that oftentimes as we get older, facial fat is lost and our face will naturally thin out. So if you choose to have this surgery before then, and your face naturally thins out later on, this may result in a scrawny look. So, people need to take genetics into consideration and should check to see if round cheeks run in their family. Note that buccal fat is contained within membranes and cannot be replaced once it is taken out.
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What Are The Typical Costs Associated With Buccal Fat Removal?

The costs for undergoing buccal fat removal can range anywhere from $1500 to $5000. Fees within various regions may vary depending on whether the doctor’s practice is in an urban, suburban or rural area. This fee only covers the physician’s costs, and does not include other miscellaneous costs. A comprehensive cost figure may be obtained while consulting with the physician. Make sure this figure includes any and all associated costs.


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How Much Pain is Associated with Buccal Fat Removal?

Patients can experience mild to moderate pain and discomfort after undergoing buccal fat removal, which can be lessened with prescription pain medication. Some degree of swelling and possibly bruising can be expected, but this is only temporary. It is recommended that you stay home for at least a week after surgery and take it easy for the first three weeks following surgery.
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What is the Road to Recovery like?

Swelling and minimal bruising will be apparent for the first three days after the procedure. Keeping your head elevated and applying ice packs at ten minute intervals for the first few days can help reduce swelling. You will need plenty of rest for the first two weeks as your body will be using your energy to heal. It will take around three weeks to fully recover, although this varies among individuals. Contact sports and strenuous activity should be avoided for about two months.
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Ten Questions Patients Undergoing Buccal Fat Removal Should Ask Their Surgeon

To better educate the patient about buccal fat removal, as well as assisting in formulating realistic expectations, it is recommended that the patient look at before and after photographs, speak with previous patients, (you are always welcome to ask your doctor for referrals to previous patients and where to contact them) and get answers to the following questions:
  1. Are the desired results I described realistic?
  2. Where is the buccal fat removal performed and how long will it take?
  3. In my case, which technique is most appropriate for helping me achieve the look I want (i.e. buccal fat excision, facial liposuction)?
  4. What kind of anesthesia will the surgeon use during the surgery?
  5. How much does buccal fat removal cost and what other elements factor into that cost (i.e., hospital fee, anesthesia, etc)?
  6. What is the surgeon’s level of experience in performing buccal fat removal?
  7. What percentage of patients experience complications with buccal fat removal?
  8. What is the surgeon’s policy in regards to correcting or repeating the procedure if the buccal fat removal does not meet agreed upon goals?
  9. What should I expect, post-operatively, in terms of soreness, scaring, activity level and so on?
  10. Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked or suspended?
Do not limit yourself to these questions. If there is something you do not understand about buccal fat removal, do not hesitate in asking the doctor any questions you might have.

In addition, it is important that buccal fat removal patients relay to their surgeon information regarding any allergies and serious medical conditions they may have. Furthermore, patients should inform the surgeon of any medications they are taking.

This site provides information about plastic/cosmetic surgery and is designed to help users make decisions regarding their own treatment options. But medical information is not the same as medical advice--the application of medical treatment to a person's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a qualified medical practitioner if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.
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Related Links

Buccal Fat Extraction
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