Does Buccal Fat Removal Change Your Face Shape?

Does Buccal Fat Removal Change Your Face Shape? Woman highlighting neck and lower cheek (model)

Sculpted cheekbones are almost universally considered attractive, which is one reason the popularity of buccal fat reduction isn’t surprising. Especially when combined with other procedures, such as liposuction under the chin, buccal fat removal can profoundly affect the appearance and shape of your face.

For people who are self-conscious about having “chipmunk” cheeks, buccal fat removal is an excellent option when it’s performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon who takes a conservative approach. Think about how you look when sucking on a straw—that’s the look buccal fat reduction patients are going after. As with contouring makeup, the goal is to highlight the cheekbone above and the jawline below with a shadow effect.  

What Is Buccal Fat?

Buccal fat pads are located in the hollow beneath your cheekbone between your facial muscles, creating contours on your face. The size of a buccal fat pad isn’t based on a person’s weight; it’s influenced by genetics, age, and face shape. Buccal fat removal has been performed for a long time but has recently been the subject of TikTok videos and other social media posts. Now that the “secret” is out, we’re hearing from people who wonder if the surgery is right for them.

How Is Buccal Fat Removal Performed?

Buccal fat reduction surgery is a relatively straightforward procedure that can be performed using a local anesthetic. As a standalone surgery, buccal fat reduction typically takes less than an hour. I begin the operation by making a very short incision—just a few millimeters long—on the inside of the cheek, exposing the fat pad. I then gently press on the pad to expose it more and then cut and remove the amount necessary to produce the desired result. The procedure concludes with closing the incision with sutures.

Combining Buccal Fat Reduction With Other Procedures

Buccal fat reduction on its own sculpts a more striking appearance. Many of our patients, however, choose to combine it with other procedures to enhance the shape of their faces. For example, the patient featured in this Instagram post felt she had too much fullness below her chin. I combined neck liposuction with buccal fat reduction to improve the definition of her chin and jawline. The results are beautiful.

Using dermal fillers to add volume in other areas of the face is another treatment that works well with buccal fat removal. Chin augmentation can be a complementary procedure for people whose chins are naturally recessed. And some rhinoplasty patients choose to have buccal fat reduction performed to accentuate the results of their nose jobs.

Is Buccal Fat Reduction Right for You?

Many patients who ask about having their buccal fat removed believe they have “baby faces” and want more defined cheekbones. This is true of both women and men. Buccal fat, though, isn’t always the reason for fullness in the cheeks. It may be the result of over-developed masseter muscles. Bulky jaw muscles can be the result of teeth clenching and grinding. If that’s the case, BOTOX® injections can create a slimmer jawline by relaxing the muscles. Combining BOTOX injections with buccal fat reduction is also an option to sculpt a more angular appearance.

It’s important to understand that buccal fat removal results are permanent. If your cheeks are naturally slimmer, removing buccal fat pads may produce an undesirable gaunt look as you age and your face loses volume.

What Is Recovery Like After Buccal Fat Removal?

Your mouth may feel a bit sore after the procedure. Occasionally icing the area and sleeping with your head elevated can minimize swelling. You should eat only soft foods for the first few days after the procedure and avoid exercising for about a week. We also have patients swish with a prescription mouthwash after meals to keep the incisions clean.

It takes about 2 weeks for the swelling to resolve, and that’s when you’ll start noticing results. You should be patient, though, because it may take a few months for residual swelling to go away and reveal the full extent of your results.

If you’ve been wondering if buccal fat removal can enhance the shape of your face and want to learn more about the procedure, request a consultation using the online form and we can discuss your options. You can also give us a call at (310) 300-1779 to schedule an appointment at our Marina del Rey plastic surgery office.

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