Buccal fat removal is one of the most popular facial improvements chosen by cosmetic surgery patients. But if you don’t want to go through a surgical procedure to remove fat, there are plenty of other nonsurgical alternatives that can be tried to remove buccal fat. Let’s start with addressing what buccal fat is.

In recent years, there has been a growing number of procedures for the removal of the buccal fat pad (BFP), frequently referred to as bichectomy.

Buccal fat pad removal can be used as part of the therapeutic procedure in cases of sinus buco fistulas, peri-orbital defects, congenital palatal fissure, severe bruxism, lesions caused by bites on the jugal mucosa, and dissatisfaction with the facial contour. In cases of thinning of the face, biting lesions and bruxism, total or partial removal of the BFP is performed, always taking into account facial harmonization. [1]
Woman smiling after Remove of Buccal Fat Without Surgery

What Is Buccal Fat?

Buccal fat is a rounded fat mass that sits between the facial muscles, in the hollow below your cheekbone. The placement of this fat pad affects the shape of your face and is the reason people have different facial structures. You can’t get rid of buccal fat by dieting or exercising, because even if you have very little fat on the rest of your body, excess buccal fat will still give you a plump and rounded face.[1]

Usually, people who are unhappy about having ‘chipmunk cheeks’ get this procedure done because it is said to give the face more natural proportions. The procedure also works well for people who have ‘moon’ or rounded faces because it gives them a more defined and chiseled appearance. Buccal fat removal helps a patient enhance his or her facial shape by slimming the lower cheek region of the face.

Typically, buccal fat surgery is a type of plastic surgery better known as ‘buccal lipectomy.’ During the procedure, buccal fat is removed, helping to contour the face. There is nothing wrong with having full cheeks or a round face, but sometimes a plastic surgeon might suggest buccal fat removal.

If you opt for this, you will have to fit certain criteria which ensures that the fat that is being removed from the cheeks is buccal fat and not normal fat deposits that can be easily shed by exercise.

Can You Remove Buccal Fat Without Surgery?

With ever-evolving medical procedures, it has become very easy to get the same results as buccal fat removal surgery but without invasive procedures. Let’s discuss the procedures that can remove buccal fat without surgery.

1. Cryolipolysis

If you are looking for a procedure that helps remove buccal fat without surgery, then cryolipolysis, more commonly known as CoolSculpting, is one of the best options. In this procedure, fat cells are destroyed by using extreme cold.

Freezing the cells will kill them, and then they will naturally pass through the body. This process has been FDA-approved since 2012 and is the only fat-freezing technology that holds the title.[2]

The clinic of your choice has to be certified to perform the procedure, and if you are concerned about whether the procedure is safe or not, then you have nothing to fear because the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery considers this a safe procedure.

Studies have shown that cryolipolysis removes up to 25 percent of fat from the treatment site with the initial procedure, and this amount can be increased by having follow-up sessions.[3] The best thing is that this treatment is not just limited to buccal fat removal. You can remove fat cells from any area of the body, including upper arms, hips, thighs, back, and even abdomen.

2. Sculpted Liposuction

Typically known as laser liposuction, sculpted liposuction is very similar to cryolipolysis because it breaks down the fat cells, which are then sent to the liver and processed out of the body.

But unlike cryolipolysis, sculpted liposuction uses lasers and heat to break apart stubborn fat cells instead of cold. This procedure only targets the fat cells, so there will be no scars or damage to the skin, which provides another good answer to the question Can you remove buccal fat without surgery?

Laser liposuction is different from the most commonly known liposuction because it doesn’t use syringes or tubes to suck out the fat. Rather, the doctors make a very small incision that makes it easier for the laser to reach the fat deposits.[4]

This incision is small enough that it doesn’t even require stitches, and the patients don’t feel any pain because they are given anesthesia that helps to numb the targeted areas.

3. Deoxycholic Acid

Deoxycholic acid is a bile acid that naturally exists in our bodies and breaks down fat. In this procedure, the doctor injects Kybella, one of the most commonly available forms of bile acid, into the fatty tissue in a grid-like pattern.

The doctor may even numb the patient to remove any discomfort. Once this fat starts breaking down, it will naturally pass out of your body. The treatment will require at least three to six sessions to fully correct their round cheeks, and each of these sessions has to be spaced at least four to six weeks apart. This procedure is also FDA-approved and very safe.[5]

What Procedure to Choose?

All of these procedures are FDA approved, and choosing one depends entirely on what is available for you, what you can afford, your medical conditions (if you have any), and other personal preferences. It is best to consult with your doctor so that they can guide you accordingly.

Hands typing on laptop for FDA approved buccal fat removal procedures

Does Buccal Fat Go Away With Age?

Buccal fat continues to grow and change as the individual enters adulthood, which means that it can naturally reduce with age. This is also why it is recommended that you wait until you are at least twenty years old to get a buccal fat removal procedure or surgery.

What Burns The Most Facial Fat?

Cardio is the most effective way to lose facial fat. Some effective cardio exercises include swimming, running, dancing, and biking.

Can Chewing Gum Reduce Cheek Fat?

Yes, chewing gum is one of the easiest exercises to reduce facial and under-chin fat. Chewing gum also strengthens the jaw while lifting the chin.

How Much Does It Cost To Slim Your Face?

If you are getting Botox to slim your face down, then it will cost you around $400 to $600 depending on where you live. The average cost of laser liposuction is about $3,518. Finally, if you choose CoolSculpting, it will cost you between $1,000 and $3,000.

How painful is buccal fat removal?

Buccal fat removal surgery might be uncomfortable and a little painful during the recovery time. However, if you are getting CoolSculpting or laser liposuction, the procedure should be painless. You might feel a pinching or pulling sensation during CoolSculpting, but neither should cause any pain once the procedure itself is completed.

How Much Buccal Fat Can Be Removed?

Buccal fat can range anywhere between 8 to 10cc, and when the fat is removed, it leaves behind 7 to 8cc. Even though it may seem like a small amount, it is enough to lessen the fat in the cheeks and bring out your cheekbones.[6]

What Can Go Wrong with Buccal Fat Removal?

Even though the chances of side effects are low, there are a few things that can go wrong during buccal fat removal. There are anesthesia risks, deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications, hematoma, fluid accumulation, infection, persistent pain, numbness or changes in sensation, a possibility of revisional surgery, prolonged swelling, and suboptimal aesthetic results.


  1. Postoperative Evaluation of the Intraoral Technique of Buccal Fat Pad Removal
  1. Summary of Safety
  2. Cryolipolysis for noninvasive body contouring: clinical efficacy and patient satisfaction
  1. The Advantages of Laser Liposuction
  2. Kybella (deoxycholic acid) injection
  3. Make sure you read this before you undergo buccal fat removal! with jonathan zelken plastic surgeon

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