Buccal Fat Removal: Best 101 Guide for Beginners

Have you ever wondered about the ongoing trend of everlasting beauty and many brands promoting their products for antiaging and other such stuff that would ever be suitable for you?

Or the ongoing hype about the surgical approach or buccal fat removal to maintain that pretty natural face at a whooping cost is worth giving a try?

If you are in a dilemma regarding these questions and cannot conclude, this article might be the right choice for you.

1. What Is Buccal Fat?

Do you remember seeing a baby last time and that irresistible urge to pull out their cheeks?

Well, everyone must have done this at least once in their life and would want to have such soft cheeks throughout their life.

But change is the law of nature. With every day that passes by, the body also changes itself trying to adapt itself to the changing nature.

So do our faces and our cheeks. By this time, you must have realized that cheeks account for a significant part of our face, and their structure determines the shape of our face, which every other person is concerned about!

A perfect shape and the tone of the cheeks that are well contoured and define the angle of the face is everyone’s desire.

But before moving further, one must have a clear idea about what cheek is made up of anatomically and how it changes with age!

Well, the fullness of the cheeks is determined by the underlying buccal fat pad, which is a mass of fat that lies below the cheeks.

2. Aging and Changes in the Buccal Fat

This buccal fat pad changes with age and causes a change in the structure of the cheeks.

With advancing age, there are noticeable changes in the amount of fat deposited below the cheeks.

Also, various other conditions determine the shape and rate at which the fat gets deposited and depleted from the cheeks.

During the teenage years, there can be a significant deposition of fat and cause an increase in the size of the buccal fat pad, especially in females.

With increasing age, the natural aging process takes place, and the fat reduces slowly and gives you the appearance of sunken cheeks or cheek hollows.

Those chubby cheeks last no longer.

As the buccal fat gets depleted, the skin over it becomes loose and wrinkled, giving an unwanted appearance. Also, the tone of the cheeks is lost, affecting the shape of the face drastically.

In some cases, there can be excessive buccal fat giving you a round face chipmunk cheeks, or babyface appearance.

3. What Is Buccal Fat Removal?

With the advancement in technology, the healthcare system has discovered new techniques to manipulate the human body and create the desired qualities that one wishes to have.

Such a very famous one is called lipectomy, which means the surgical intervention to remove excess fat from the body.

Buccal fat removal surgery
Photo by Rabizo on Unlimphotos

Buccal lipectomy or buccal fat removal is one of them. The excessive fat which is not desired by anyone can be surgically removed with the help of a board-certified plastic surgeon.

4. Who Should Get a Buccal Fat Removal Done?

If you have excessive fullness or a round face or with no defined angles and that contour on the cheeks, you probably may be the one who requires a buccal fat removal.

For willing individuals, they can undergo buccal fat removal, and plastic surgery is the preferred option carried out by plastic surgeons.

But getting this procedure done has a checklist, and getting all the boxes ticked is mandatory with the consultation of a certified plastic surgeon.

5. Prerequisite for Buccal Fat Removal

The first and most important one is finding a board-certified plastic surgeon. A thorough check-up and advice from the surgeon are mandatory.

The ideal candidates for buccal fat removal surgery are as follows-

5.1. Healthy Weight

The individual should neither be too thin nor obese. The ideal weight is determined according to the BMI, which changes from person to person.

5.2. No Infection

Any infection of the body may lead to the termination of the surgery. Infection delays the process of healing.

5.3. Age

This is the most critical factor before undertaking the surgery. Extremes of age should be avoided. Usually, young people tolerate the procedure well and have better outcomes as compared to older ones.

5.4. Comorbidities

The absence of other health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or thyroid is ideal and expected. In case these conditions are present, they should be in the preferred range, and consultation from the respective physician must be taken.

5.5. Physical Health

Another factor that plays an essential role in the better outcome of the surgeries is good physical health. Physically fit individuals have better results.

5.6. Absence of Smoking

Smoking is a health hazard that delays the process of healing. Active smokers may be advised to quit smoking for a few months before and after surgery.

6. Buccal Fat Removal Procedure

Cheek reduction surgery helps in getting rid of that excess fat or facial fat efficiently when done by a trained and qualified plastic surgeon.

According to the presentation of the buccal fat and its distribution, the type of anesthesia 1is decided.

Usually, local anesthesia is given, meaning you will be awake during the procedure but will not be able to feel any type of pain till the effect of the anesthesia lasts.

In some cases, general anesthesia can also be given and is entirely decided by the treating doctor.

An incision is taken on the inner side of the cheek. The mucosa 2of the mouth is reflected, and the buccal fat is removed carefully.

The incision site is then thoroughly washed with antiseptic to prevent infection.

The incision is then carefully sutured with dissolvable stitches. These types of stitches do not need a follow-up visit to the surgeon’s office for removal; they get dissolved.

7. What to Expect after Buccal Fat Removal Procedure?

The most common experience noticed by many patients who underwent surgeries complained of swelling.

One must not worry about it as it is a natural healing process. The swelling reduces in the subsequent days by itself.

The application of an ice pack may help reduce the pain and swelling caused due to buccal fat pad removal.

The diet is expected to change with problems in eating hard food like biscuits or slices of bread or any other items that require chewing.

Consuming a liquid diet and subsequently shifting to soft foods are suggested in the initial days after the surgery.

Regular food can be resumed about a week after the surgery.

Visible scarring is the most important concern that many buccal fat removal candidates have, which is a valid question and should be talked about with a qualified plastic surgeon who is undertaking the surgery.

Most of the surgeries usually leave no scar if carried out effectively.

The scar may usually be visible during the initial weeks following the surgery but go away with time.

8. Post-Surgery Care

This part plays a significant role in getting the best outcomes from the surgery.

Usually, you will be provided with a special mouthwash to be used as prescribed by the plastic surgeon.

The inspection of the infection should be done on a daily basis to note if there is any type of infection or pus formation taking place.

After every meal, the use of mouthwash is recommended to wash out any food particles that may be present.

buccal fat removal
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash Copyrights 2021

Visiting the surgeon’s office for follow-up check-ups is advised.

If the swelling does not subside within the following week of the surgery, seek medical advice immediately.

9. Possible Complications Following a Buccal Fat Removal Surgery

The complications can take place during and after the surgical procedure is done.

As far as you are under the direct observation of the surgeon for the initial few hours after the surgery, you need not worry about it.

Some complications can occur 24 hours or maybe 48 hours post-operation.

Thus, being aware of all the possible ones is a must.

The list of possible complications is:

  1. Impaired sensation due to anesthesia
  2. Suture site infection
  3. Discoloration of the face
  4. Visible Scarring
  5. The excessive hollowness of the cheeks
  6. Hemorrhage
  7. Potential damage to the facial nerve
  8. Facial asymmetry
  9. Damage to the salivary glands
  10. Excessive smaller face

10. Must-Ask Questions

Buccal fat removal
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels Copyrights 2021

Being doubtful about surgery and its outcomes is very common. Especially talking about this one which will determine the face shape, which shall directly reflect your confidence, one must be confident while undertaking it and trust the surgeon3.

Still, getting a clear idea about the procedure and clearing all the doubts from the mind is a must.

One must ask the treating surgeon the following questions:

  1. Is this surgery suitable for me?
  2. Am I required to undertake the surgery, or are there other treatment options available?
  3. Am I fit to undertake the surgery, and will I tolerate the procedure well?
  4. How long will the surgery last?
  5. Will I be supposed to stay a night at the hospital before or after the surgery?
  6. What are all the possible complications that can occur?
  7. What if I don’t like the outcome of the surgery?
  8. What is the success rate of the surgery?

11. Takeaway

Buccal fat is a mass of fat present below the cheeks and determines the shape of the face.

The excessive fullness of the face is due to the deposition of the extra fat under the cheeks.

Buccal fat 4removal is a medically approved procedure and should only be done by a qualified plastic surgeon.

Post-operation care is essential, and one should be aware of possible complications.

12. Frequently Asked Questions

12.1. How can I slim my buccal fat naturally?

There are various remedies followed by people to slim their cheeks naturally. For example- Exercise, diet, and sleep are some factors that affect chubby cheeks.

12.2. Why are people removing buccal fat?

People generally over/between the age of 30-40 have the urge to remove buccal fat. It is because the cheeks droop downwards with time and it makes the cheeks look old or unattractive for some people.

12.3. How painful is buccal fat removal?

You will not feel the pain during the surgery as the anesthesia will numb the pain.

12.4. Does buccal fat return after removal?

No, The buccal fat removal is permanent. The buccal fat does not regrow after being removed.

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  1. Pavel, Mahmud Arif, et al. “Studies on the mechanism of general anesthesia.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117.24 (2020): 13757-13766. ↩︎
  2. Şenel, Sevda. “An overview of physical, microbiological and immune barriers of oral mucosa.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22.15 (2021): 7821. ↩︎
  3. Office of the Surgeon General. “Protecting youth mental health: the US surgeon general’s advisory [Internet].” (2021). ↩︎
  4. Chouikh, Fairouz, and Eric J. Dierks. “The buccal fat pad flap.” Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinics 33.2 (2021): 177-184. ↩︎

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Diksha Jagwani

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