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What is buccal fat?

Buccal fat refers to a pad of fatty tissue in the middle of your cheeks, just between the facial muscles. The size of the buccal fat pat determines your facial shape. Large buccal fat pads give you rounded cheeks, softer contours, and deeper nasolabial folds nose. People with large buccal fat pads are often said to have a “baby face,” and buccal fat removal is usually an ideal treatment option for them.

What is buccal fat removal?

Buccal fat removal is a cheek reduction procedure wherein the unwanted fat deposits from the buccal region are removed. Removing unwanted fat tissues from the cheeks gives you sharper contours with prominent cheekbones. This procedure also provides a sharper jawline and reduces nasolabial folds. The surgical procedure is fairly simple—it’s performed under local anesthesia within an hour and involves minimal downtime.

Smiling girl with scarf

What are the benefits of buccal fat removal?

  • Enhances the prominence of your cheekbones
  • Contours your facial features to appear more angular
  • Simple in-office procedure performed under local anesthesia
  • The scars are placed inside your mouth, so they’re not visible
  • Minimal downtime without an extended recovery period

Who makes the best buccal fat removal candidate?

Buccal fat removal is meant for patients who want to remove the excess fat tissues in their cheeks leading to a “baby face.” You can only qualify for the procedure if you:

  • Have excess buccal fat in your cheeks
  • Are in generally good physical and mental health
  • Don’t have chubby cheeks because of obesity
  • Have a healthy BMI level
  • Don’t smoke or consume tobacco in any form
  • Are willing to stop smoking before and after the procedure
  • Have realistic expectations about the results

What can I expect from the buccal fat removal procedure?

  • The buccal fat removal procedure is performed under local anesthesia
  • Local anesthesia is administered to the cheeks to block sensation and ensure comfort
  • You can also get intravenous sedation to alleviate your anxieties and worries
  • The surgeon makes a small incision on the insides of each cheek from within your mouth
  • The buccinator muscle (the anterior part of the cheek) is cut to make space for the operation
  • Pressure is applied on the cheeks from the outside to squeeze the unwanted buccal fat tissue through the incision
  • Once sufficient buccal fat is removed, the surgeon stitches the incision closed

How soon do you recover from buccal fat removal?

You may experience mild to moderate post-operative swelling, manageable with prescription pain medications. You should arrange to have someone drive you back home because you’ll be under anesthetic influence. You can resume all normal activities and work the next day, though you should avoid vigorous activities for a few days. You recover completely within three weeks.

FAQs: Answered by Dr. Pearlman

    What is the recovery time for buccal fat removal?

    You can resume most of your normal activities the very next day. But the complete recovery process may take up to 3 weeks.

    When will I see the final results?

    The surgery provides immediate results, but you’ll continue seeing improvements for several days or weeks as the swelling and bruising dissipate. Some patients continue seeing improved results for several months as the cheeks may take time to settle completely.

    Is buccal fat removal permanent?

    Yes, buccal fat removal is a permanent procedure—once removed, the fat tissues can’t return. However, you can still develop chubby cheeks due to weight gains.

    Will I have visible scars after buccal fat removal?

    No. The incisions are placed from inside the mouth on the inner part of the cheeks, so the procedure doesn’t leave visible scars.

    Why choose Dr. Pearlman?

    Dr. Pearlman is an incredibly talented and reputable facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. He provides conservative treatments that cater specifically to your unique cosmetic concerns, ensuring optimal and natural-looking results.