As a person ages, the cheeks often lose their contour and become more prominent in their appearance. There is a cosmetic surgery that can remove a portion of the buccal fat pad in order to reduce the prominence of the cheeks. This procedure is known as buccal fat pad reduction AKA cheek reduction surgery. The buccal fat pad is an area of fat located in the posterior region of the cheeks near the location of the molars in the mouth.
Cosmetic Town TV recently took a closer look at buccal fat pad removal in order to provide a “Beauty Procedure 411” about the treatment:
According to Dr. Sheila Nazarian, Board Certified Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon from Beverly Hills, CA, ideal candidates for buccal fat pad removal include “people with have fullness in the lower face or ‘chipmunk’ cheeks are good candidates. Most patients are seeking a slimming of the lower face or a more chiseled look. It should be noted that anyone with full cheeks due to being overweight or someone with a hollow face due, to the aging process causing a loss of volume, is not a good candidate.
Dr. Nazarian added that “buccal fat pad removal gives patients the more lifted, chiseled appearance they desire. Typically, the cheekbone and temples should be the widest part of the youthful face. Buccal fat removal takes the fullness out of the lower face.”
Buccal fat pad removal can be performed as an in-office procedure or in a surgical facility using general anesthesia. A small incision is made on the inside lining of each cheek so the fascia and fibers of the main cheek muscle are exposed. External pressure is applied below the cheekbone so the buccal fat pad will protrude through the incision. A portion of the fat is removed and then the part of the fat pad that is remaining will be repositioned back into place. There is no external scarring since all of the incisions are made internally.
Buccal fat pad removal can be combined with other treatments to provide patients with even better facial contour. Cheek reduction can be performed along with eyelid surgery, facial implants, browlift or a facelift.
In general, the cost for buccal fat pad removal is anywhere from $2000-$5000 depending on anesthesia costs, where the procedure is performed and if it is combined with any additional surgical procedures.
Patients can expect to feel some pain and discomfort, as well as some bruising, but all of this will fade within a few days. Keeping the head elevated so the cheeks are above the heart will help speed the recovery process. Patients should eat soft food for 3-5 days and avoid foods that are sharp or acidic as these types of foods can irritate the incisions.
There will be some numbness following the procedure in the areas around the incisions as well as the jawline and central areas of the cheeks. The loss of feeling will fade after a few weeks. The average amount of downtime is one week but any strenuous activities should be avoided for a few months.
There will be some results that are immediately noticeable but the majority of the results will not be visible until the swelling has gone down. The patient will enjoy slimmer cheeks and the total amount of changes enjoyed by the person depends on the amount of fat that is removed. The final results can usually be seen after three months but it could take longer if other procedures are performed at the same time as the buccal fat pad removal. The final results are considered to be permanent unless the patient puts on extra weight since this could cause the cheeks to become chubby in appearance again. Patients should remember that buccal fat pad removal cannot provide a skinny face but it can provide a difference in the overall contour of the cheeks.
The first step in the buccal fat pad removal process is finding a board-certified surgeon to perform the procedure. Patients should pick a cosmetic surgeon that specializes in buccal fat pad removal and also has a deep knowledge of facial anatomy to help provide a successful outcome. In addition, patients should ask any questions they have on their mind before the surgery in order to set realistic expectations for the final results.