Buccal Fat Removal

What is buccal fat?

Buccal (pronounced buh-kl, like “buckle”) fat is a pad of normal fat that sits within your lower cheeks. It helps to cushion the chewing muscles and is part of a larger collection of fat that extends all the way up to your temple. In some people, the buccal fat can be overgrown and lead to excessive fullness in the lower face.

What is buccal fat removal or reduction?

Buccal fat removal, or more appropriately reduction, is a simple, in-office surgical procedure performed to decrease fullness in the lower cheeks. The procedure is generally performed through a tiny incision on the inside of your cheek and takes only minutes to complete. Discomfort is minimal and recovery is straightforward.

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We’re as thrilled with our patients’ results as they are. Check out our before-and-after photo gallery and see for yourself the kind of work our talented surgeons do.

What are the benefits of buccal fat reduction?

Overgrown buccal fat will cause excessive fullness in the lower cheeks which leads to a “rounder” facial appearance. It also decreases the amount of cheek “highlight” present over your cheekbones. By reducing the amount of buccal fat, we can slim your lower face to create more definition and contour, which is often desirable.

What are the risks of buccal fat reduction?

The most concerning risk of buccal fat reduction is removing too much. As we age, the buccal fat pad can atrophy and shrink over time. If you are relatively young, it is critical that the procedure be conservative to allow for a natural appearance when you’re older. Otherwise, your cheeks will appear deflated. Patient selection is key to ensure that the procedure is only performed on good candidates who have naturally large amounts of buccal fat.

Is anesthesia required?

If buccal fat reduction is the only procedure you are having performed then it can easily be done under just local anesthesia, much like a dental operation. However, if the buccal fat reduction is being combined with additional procedures that require deeper anesthesia, then it would simply be included in the overall plan.

What is the buccal fat reduction procedure like?

The procedure begins with skin markings on your lower cheeks based on the surgical plan you design with your surgeon. Next, numbing medicine is injected into the inside of your cheeks much like a dental procedure. Once ready, a small incision is made on the inside of your cheek near your upper molar teeth.  The buccal fat pad is gently teased out and trimmed using a cautery device. The incision is closed with sutures that dissolve on their own over 1-2 weeks.

How long does buccal fat reduction last?

The results of buccal fat reduction are permanent; however, your overall face will continue to mature and may change with weight fluctuations.

What is involved with recovery after buccal fat removal?

blonde womanAfter your surgery, your cheeks will be sore, and you’ll have some swelling. Because of your mouth incisions you’ll need to be on a soft diet and use the provided mouth rinse to reduce your risk of infection. You will swish this around your mouth after every meal. The goal is to prevent any fine particles of food from getting stuck in your incisions.

You will have swelling, but if you diligently use ice packs or cold compresses for the first two days, you can dramatically lower your swelling. This isn’t an overly painful recovery, and your incisions will heal quickly. Patients can resume their normal activities the next day.

How should I sleep after having buccal fat removal?

After having buccal fat pad removal at West End, you’ll need to sleep on your back with your head elevated. This isn’t an absolute requirement, as it is with nose surgery or a facelift, for instance, but doing so greatly helps speed your recovery.

Will I be awake during the buccal fat removal procedure? 

If we are performing buccal fat pad removal by itself, we can easily perform this procedure with the patient under only local anesthesia. If you’ve opted to have buccal fat removal combined with additional procedures, we may recommend general/sleep anesthesia.

When will I see results after this surgery?

After this surgery, you’ll likely have some swelling. Bruising is unusual, however. You’ll see an immediate difference in your cheeks, with a thinner, more contoured cheek area. There will be a depression beneath the cheekbone and the cheekbones will appear higher. Swelling can last up to three weeks, but then you’ll start to see your final results. Swelling can linger in some patients, however.

Am I a good candidate for buccal fat reduction?

If you feel your lower face is too round or full, compared to the rest of your face or body, then you might be a good candidate for buccal fat reduction. It can also help to provide greater contour in your cheekbones. Patients who do well with this procedure often say they grew up with “chipmunk cheeks” that never seemed to go away. If you are curious to see if this is right for you, we would be delighted to see you for a consultation!

How long does buccal fat reduction surgery take? 

These procedures are not overly involved. They take between 30 and 60 minutes for most patients.

What are the risks involved with buccal fat removal? 

Clean clear pampering wellness freshness rejuvenation concept. Close up portrait of beautiful tender cute pure girl touching her smooth soft flawless perfect skin on cheek isolated on white backgroundThese are simple procedures where our West End board-certified plastic surgeons enter through an incision made within the mouth, locate the buccal pads and remove them. Swelling only last a couple weeks. There isn’t any visible scarring. Most people can get back to their normal activities the next day. These are safe and low-risk minor surgeries. 

Though not technically a “risk,” at West End Plastic Surgery we advise our patients considering buccal fat removal to consider the long-term results. Defined cheek hollows and less fat will look great on a younger patient today, but consideration needs to be given to how it will look as that same person ages. The natural aging process causes fat loss in the face, and this decrease increases with every passing decade. That’s why this procedure is not advised for anyone over the age of 50.

So, if you have a relatively thin or angular face now, at a younger age, buccal fat pad removal may leave you looking gaunt, worn, or older than you are in the coming decades.

Will I be able to eat normally after having buccal fat removal?

Watching what you eat is important after these surgeries to protect your incisions. You need to avoid sharp, fine granular foods. Tortilla chips are a no-no, as would be rice or couscous. Smooth foods such as smoothies and mashed potatoes are the way to go for about one week.

You’ll also use a special mouthwash to prevent infection. 

Schedule a Buccal Fat Removal Consultation Today!

Interested in learning more about our Buccal Fat Removal procedure? Please give us a call at 202-785-4187 to schedule your consultation today! West End Plastic Surgery serves Washington, D.C. and all nearby areas.

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