Buccal fat removal is one of the most common, affordable, and quite efficient cosmetic surgery procedures available today. It is becoming quite popular, but does that make it right for you?
The buccal fat removal procedure is aimed at removing excess fat cells in the area just below the cheekbones to achieve a more contoured look on the face.
While many people prefer this “thinner” look, it is worth considering what the long-term results of the procedure might be to determine if this is a good choice for you.
Is buccal fat removal for you?
There are several reasons that people choose to undergo buccal fat removal. Here are some of the most commonly cited:
Lower Face Fullness
Some people are genetically predisposed to have larger fat deposits in their cheeks, which they feel give them a “baby face.” Removing some of the fat in the cheeks can produce a more mature, contoured appearance.
Eliminating Accumulated Fat
Fat accumulation in the face can be caused by weight fluctuations, hormonal imbalances, genetics, medications, or Cushing’s disease. Buccal fat removal can remove some of that excess fat, streamlining the look of the face.
This quick, relatively easy procedure has little to no downsides and leaves no visible scars on the face. It can have the effect of slimming and contouring the face, giving the cheekbones a more prominent appearance. However, not everyone is a good candidate for this surgery.
While many people can achieve the results they desire with buccal fat removal, it is not an effective option for every situation. Here are some cases where cheek slimming surgery alone will not provide the optimal solution:
- Accumulated facial fat deposits in overweight people is usually not a result of the buccal fat in their faces alone. They may also have some fat under the skin that would require other procedures to remove.
- Some candidates have overdeveloped jaw muscles. Simply removing the buccal fat will not be effective in changing the contour of the face.
- Candidates with already a thin face are generally not advised to undergo the procedure. Removing the buccal fat can cause them sunken cheeks in the long term.
The ideal candidates for buccal fat removal are:
- Healthy non-smokers who are concerned about extra fat in their cheeks.
- People who have been unable to lose facial fat with diet, exercise, and other conventional methods.
- Patients who don’t have a history of life-threatening illnesses.
A plastic surgeon can help you determine if buccal fat removal is a good option for you and if you are likely to achieve the results you want. 
After the Procedure
It will take somewhere between five to seven days for the swelling to go down. In the meantime, your surgeon will recommend post-op best practices to help you recover better and faster.
The recovery phase, after the swelling goes down, could be up to four months.
Note that this does not mean your face will be sore for those four months. What it does mean is that the final results will appear gradually, meaning that others may not even realize you’ve had a procedure unless you tell them.
The long-term effects of the procedure are completely dependent on the individual.
While for some, removing the buccal fat can contribute to a more “hollow” look in the cheeks later in life, it does not cause the skin to sag or wrinkle. Your doctor can help you weigh the pros and cons of your particular situation.
Can Buccal Fat Removal Go Wrong?
While it is a routine surgical procedure, it is estimated that about 8.45 percent of patients undergoing this surgery experience some level of complications every year, some of which include asymmetry, hematoma, infections, injury to a salivary duct, numbness, or pain.
One of the pros of buccal fat removal is that the results are permanent. But when it goes wrong, that could easily become one of the cons too.
However, that should not scare you away from the procedure.
Your doctor’s level of expertise weighs a lot on the results. Many surgeons successfully perform this procedure dozens or even hundreds of times every year. Make sure your doctor is a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in buccal fat removal.
Can you lose buccal fat naturally with age?
Some people experience a reduction in the buccal fat content on their faces as time goes on. This is not the same for everyone as a majority of people will keep their chubby cheeks for long after their 50s.
The best part is that with time, you tend to grow into the fullness of your face. If you would prefer a slimmer face for any reason, though, it is worth checking if you are a prime candidate for the procedure.
Is Buccal fat removal painful?
The buccal fat procedure deals with the soft tissue and as such, should not be painful. After the procedure, you could experience some mild discomfort, but nothing more than that. The clinics that perform this operation effectively would give you painkillers to take home with you.
Note that you won’t need to use painkillers most of the time. When you do need them, though, you would be sure that you have prescription medicine that works well for the case.
What should you not do after buccal fat removal?
Speak with your surgeon to get down the key dos and don’ts after this surgery. As we have said before, it is usually a routine procedure that won’t require any special recovery processes – but you still have to adhere to the recommendations you get.
In general, it is advised that you don’t do any strenuous lifting / heavy activity up to 72 hours after the surgery. Phase out all of your aerobics, cardio, and other such exercises for a week (minimum) after the procedure also.
For many, you could always go back to bathing and washing your face the very day after the surgery. Again, make sure to confirm with your surgeon and ask relevant questions where need be so that you have all of your bases covered.
Once the buccal fat is removed, it will not come back. Some fat can still accumulate in the face and cheeks as a normal fluctuation due to weight gain and can mask the results of the procedure, but it will not “return” to the buccal pad.
Should You Book A Buccal Fat Removal Procedure Today?
If you are interested in researching whether buccal fat removal can help you achieve your goals, visit a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss whether you are a good candidate. They will go over your health history, discuss your needs, and help you decide if this procedure is right for you.
If it does not look like a good fit for you, they will recommend other procedures to help you achieve your desired goals.
- Buccal fat pad removal to improve facial aesthetics: an established technique?https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6051676/