The desire for a more sculpted face with the appearance of higher cheekbones has been on the rise. The buccal fat pad removal procedure is one of the most highly requested facial cosmetic procedures that helps achieve that sculpted look. Celebrities like Bella Hadid, Angelina Jolie, and Margot Robbie are a few examples of the “look” that patients are seeking when they come in for buccal fat pad removal.
Buccal Fat Pad Removal Benefits
You can achieve a more sculpted facial appearance through buccal fat pad removal. This procedure helps highlight cheekbones and refine facial contours, resulting in a rejuvenated and defined look. Here are more benefits:
Slimmer Cheek Appearance
Enjoy a leaner, more refined facial profile with reduced fullness in the cheeks, offering a balanced and appealing aesthetic.
By minimizing excess buccal fat, your face can regain a youthful vibrancy, accentuating your natural beauty and boosting self-confidence.
Tailored Facial Proportions
Buccal fat pad removal can harmonize facial proportions, creating an overall more balanced and elegant facial structure.
What is the buccal fat pad?
The buccal fat pad is a normal, small pad of fat that is found in each cheek beneath the hollow area under the cheekbones. The main purpose of the fat pad is to provide a layer of cushioning and to protect the chewing muscles in the lower cheeks. While everyone has buccal fat pads, buccal fat can be more pronounced in some than others. Individuals with fuller buccal fat pads have more volume in the bottom portion of their cheeks. Excess fat storage in this area is mostly hereditary, as you can find otherwise slender people with large buccal fat deposits. Those looking to slim their cheeks while creating a beautiful contour and chisel to the face are considered great candidates for buccal fat removal.
Buccal fat removal is a short surgical procedure where some or all of the buccal fat found in the face is removed for immediate and permanent results. By removing large fat deposits from the lower face, a thinner and more sculpted facial shape, especially in the jawline, is created. Those desiring this procedure must note that buccal fat removal can potentially worsen the appearance of nasolabial folds or smile lines, as it is often the fat pad that helps to smooth out this area of the face. Additionally, removing too much fat can create a gaunt look due to the extreme loss of fat and collagen. So it is important to only have this procedure performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon who can advise you on best outcomes.
What Can I Count on in Terms of Outcomes After Removing Buccal Fat?
- More slender-looking face
- More pronounced and higher cheekbones
- More chiseled and sculpted facial features
Candidates for Buccal Fat Pad Removal
Buccal fat pad removal Ideal candidates:
- 20 to 40 years old
- Full, round, or “chubby” cheeks
- Men seeking a stronger jawline and a more chiseled masculine look
- At ideal body weight (overweight individuals may not notice dramatic improvement with buccal fat pad removal)
- Not planning to lose or gain a significant amount of weight in the future
Technique for Buccal Fat Pad Removal
Buccal fat removal is a lasting, minor surgical technique that a surgeon can perform while the patient is under local and/or general anesthesia. Recovery is relatively quick, and results are immediate.
Following administration of anesthesia, the surgeon will make two small incisions inside of the mouth and then gently remove or “tease out” a specific amount of the fat pad from the incision to create the desired look. Depending on the desired results, the surgeon may remove the entire fat pad or just a portion of it. When the buccal fat pads are removed, they present as little globs of fat. The surgeon will create the incision on the inside of the cheek near the two upper molars and will close it with sutures that dissolve within 1-2 weeks.
Buccal fat pad removal will take the surgeon about an hour to perform. Your provider can also perform buccal fat pad removal simultaneously with other facial procedures including rhinoplasty, facelift, or lip augmentation. A board-certified plastic surgeon is best positioned to perform this procedure to ensure proper removal of the fat pad and that the desired look is natural and specific to the patient’s face.
Complete Removal of Buccal Fat Pad vs. Partial Removal of Buccal Fat Pad
The amount of tissue that is removed will differ depending on each patient’s desired look. With a partial buccal fat pad removal, the surgeon will leave behind some remaining fat in the lower cheek region. After partial fat pad removal, if a patient gains weight, the results of their surgery will be diminished. For older patients or patients with moderate-size fat pads who still desire the high cheekbone look, a partial buccal fat pad removal may prevent the patient from appearing gaunt after the procedure. A younger patient who has more volume in their face may better benefit from a whole buccal fat pad removal to ensure more dramatic results.
Do the Outcomes of Buccal Fat Removal Endure Permanently?
Yes, the results of buccal fat removal are permanent unless the patient has significant weight gain. The ideal candidate will be at a maintainable weight since gaining 20 or more pounds can create fullness in the cheeks again.
Can the Surgeon Use Liposuction to Remove the Buccal Fat Pad?
Unfortunately, liposuction is not an option for removing buccal fat because of how deep the fat is located in the face and because its consistency is different from regular fat.
Buccal Fat Pad Removal Cost
Factors determining the cost of buccal fat pad removal:
- Surgeons Fee: $4,500
- Anesthesia Fee: Depends on the length of the procedure
- Hospital and Surgical Facility Fees: Depend on the length of the procedure
- Post-Surgery Garments and Recovery Device: Included with surgeon’s fee at The Naderi Center
- Pre-Surgical Medical Clearance and Lab Tests: Usually covered by medical insurance
- Medication Costs: Usually covered by medical insurance
- Follow-Up Visits: Included with surgeon’s fee at The Naderi Center
Preparation for Buccal Fat Pad Removal
The first step in preparing for a buccal fat removal procedure is a consultation appointment with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can determine whether you are a good candidate for this procedure. Your surgeon may also present other options for achieving a more sculpted facial appearance, including facial fillers, fat grafting, or sometimes even weight loss.
Pre-Operative Timeline for Buccal Fat Pad Removal
3-4 weeks before Buccal Fat Pad Removal
- Obtain medical evaluation and clearance from your primary care physician.
- Complete require laboratory testing.
- Make work and recovery arrangements.
- Stop tobacco, cigarettes, and nicotine consumption, which can cause poor wound healing, longer healing times, and excessive scarring.
2 Weeks before Buccal Fat Pad Removal:
- Surgery Pre-Op Appointment: You will come in for your pre-op appointment to review the surgery plan with your surgeon and go over logistical surgery details with your patient coordinator.
- Avoid foods, drinks, and herbal supplements that can increase risk of bleeding and bruising.
- Avoid aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Motrin, blood thinners, vitamin E, omega-3, fish oil, and alcohol.
- Use Tylenol instead of other over-the-counter pain medications.
- These may include antibiotics and/or pain medication for after the surgery as well as pre-medication to take prior to your procedure.
1-2 weeks before Buccal Fat Pad Removal
- Accumulate recommended items on surgery shopping list.
- Review instructions with caregiver. Confirm who will be driving you to and from the surgical center and who will stay with you for at least 24 hours after the surgery.
- Start Arnica tablets two days before surgery.
Night before Buccal Fat Pad Removal
DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING AFTER MIDNIGHT OR SURGERY WILL BE CANCELLED.
- If prescribed, take medications with a small sip of water.
Set up home recovery area
- This may include pillows, blankets, books, television, and anything else to assist with a comfortable recovery.
- You can shower, but do not apply lotion, perfume, hair product, etc.
Day of Buccal Fat Pad Removal
Wear comfortable clothes
- Dress in comfortable and loose-fitting clothes.
- Do not wear any makeup, jewelry, cosmetic creams, contacts, hair products, deodorant, sunscreen, and remove all piercings.
Surgical facility arrival.
- Have someone accompany you to and from the surgical center. Arrive at the pre-designated time and remember to bring a form of identification.
Recovering Following Buccal Fat Pad Extraction
Following buccal fat removal, patients may experience soreness and facial swelling that dissipates within 2 to 3 weeks. The cheeks will begin to look thin and more contoured once the swelling has gone down, with zero visible scarring. The best results will appear after a few weeks to months and will improve with time as swelling leaves the cheeks.
The tissues inside of the mouth need about 7 to 10 days of recovery time, so the patient should maintain a soft food diet for the first couple of days following surgery. The doctor will recommend ice and over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol to control for swelling and discomfort.
The surgeon normally uses dissolvable sutures, so the patient will not need any sutures removed during follow-up appointments. The provider recommends that buccal fat removal patients sleep on their backs with their heads elevated for the first 3 nights to assist with recovery. The first week after the procedure, the patient should avoid all strenuous activity and contact sports. Most patients can return to their normal activities after about 1 to 2 weeks.
What Can I Eat Following Buccal Fat Removal?
The provider recommends that the patient avoid granular and sharp foods following the procedure as these types of foods can get stuck in the wounds of the two small incisions within the cheeks. Instead, patients should eat foods like mashed potatoes or a well-blended smoothie during recovery.
Risks, Safety, and Potential Complications After Buccal Fat Pad Removal
While buccal fat pad removal is a relatively quick and easy procedure, as with any surgery, it has intrinsic risks. One of the biggest concerns is the large unknown of how you may age with time without the extra volume provided by the buccal fat pad. Some doctors are hesitant to perform this procedure on very young patients since facial volume and structure can change over decades and some patients have reported regretting the loss of fat in the face in their later years.
“During our thorough consultation one of the issues that I bring up with young patients is unpreditablity of what the face may look like 20-30 years down the line. My desire is that patients are content with their decision and their facial structure even as the natural aging process occurs.”Dr. Jessica Kulak Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgery
Other potential complications associated with buccal fat removal can include:
- Anesthesia risks
- Bleeding and hematoma formation
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood cloth)
- Numbness around the surgical area
- Facial muscle weakness, facial nerve injury, or paralysis due to facial nerve damage in the surgical area
- Persistent pain, poor healing, prolonged inflammation, salivary duct injury, and seroma (fluid retention)
Buccal Fat Pad Removal surgeon, Dr. Jessica Kulak
Double Board-Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Jessica Kulak exclusively specializes in facial procedures. Dr. Kulak is well versed and experienced in the buccal fat pad removal procedure. Dr. Kulak will advise you on whether this procedure is ideal for your situation or whether better options can achieve the desired results.
Schedule A Consultation for Buccal Fat Pad Removal
To find out if buccal fat removal is the right procedure for you, contact The Naderi Center to schedule a consultation. Contact the Reston, Virginia office at 703-481-0002 or the Chevy Chase, Maryland office at 301-222-2020. Although The Naderi Center is conveniently located for patients throughout the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. area, we have many patients from across the United States who travel to our surgeons because they know they are ultra-specialized in their area of cosmetic plastic surgery. Those outside of the immediate area may request a virtual consultation with our specialists.
Buccal Fat Pad Removal FAQs
Buccal fat pad removal can be an effective surgery for achieving facial aesthetic goals. It is important to understand the individual’s facial anatomy and work with an experienced surgeon to ensure the best results.
Buccal fat removal is generally not a painful procedure if you are working with a skilled surgeon. Most patients experience minimal discomfort immediately after the surgery, which should gradually lessen within hours after surgery. A proper consultation beforehand will help minimize any potential pain associated with the procedure.
The surgeon will determine the best age for buccal fat pad removal during the initial consultation that covers medical history and facial anatomy. An experienced surgeon can provide the best advice as to whether this procedure is ideal for a particular patient’s situation.
Yes, buccal fat pad removal, a type of cosmetic surgery, can transform your face shape by reducing chubby cheeks. This procedure aims to create a more sculpted facial appearance.
No, generally the patient will have no visible scars after a buccal fat pad removal medical procedure.
If you live in the states of Virginia or Maryland, The Naderi Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology offers buccal fat pad removal among its services. For a full list of services, please visit our Locations page.
The average cost of buccal fat pad removal is approximately $4,500.
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