Contouring the Cheeks: Buccal Fat Removal Explained

Posted January 31, 2022
Smaller cheeks with buccal fat pad removal

For a few years, it has been rumored that model Bella Hadid may have had buccal fat removed from her cheeks, creating a more sculpted look to her face. Hadid has never confirmed or admitted having this cosmetic procedure, but one former model and social media influencer definitely confirmed having cheek reduction surgery. Chrissy Teigen shared on her Instagram stories in 2021 that she had a buccal fat removal procedure done during the pandemic. 

A buccal fat pad removal surgery can define the face shape by removing fatty tissue from the cheek area. Thinning out the sides of the face can highlight the cheekbones and define a stronger jawline. 

This procedure has become more popular since the rise of selfies and trying to find optimal face angles. But what exactly are buccal fat pads, and what can you expect with this cosmetic surgery? We share all the details you need to know about this facial contouring procedure. 

What Are Buccal Fat Pads? 

The buccal fat pad is the sizable amount of fat in the middle of your cheeks and is more apparent as a child. As our face matures and shapes, the fat will also shift with the facial features or naturally dissipate. But for some people, the buccal fat never moves or goes away and becomes a part of their natural facial structure resulting in a round face shape. 

What Does a Buccal Fat Removal Procedure Help With?

Buccal Fat Pad Removal, also known as buccal lipectomy or cheek reduction surgery, is a cosmetic procedure that involves a surgeon removing some of the buccal fat from the cheeks. Removing the fat from the center of the cheeks can create the illusion of higher cheekbones and make the jawline more pronounced and visible. A buccal fat removal procedure can transform a person from having a round “baby face” to having angles and more definition.

What Can I Expect with a Buccal Fat Pad Removal Surgery? 

A buccal fat pad removal surgery is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that takes less than an hour to complete. Here are the basic steps of a buccal fat removal procedure: 

  • Local anesthesia will be administered to your face. You will be completely numb to the pain but awake during the procedure.
  • The board-certified plastic surgeon will make a small incision inside your mouth, right below the molars. 
  • Pressure will be applied on the outside of your cheek to expose further and force out the buccal fat.
  • The surgeon will trim and remove the necessary amount of fat that reflects the desired outcome previously discussed during the initial consultation.
  • After the fat has been removed, the surgeon will close the wound with dissolvable stitches.

What is the Recovery Like with a Buccal Fat Removal Procedure? 

After the surgery, the face will be swollen from the anesthesia and slightly bruised, but these side effects will diminish as the face heals. Patients will be given a specially formulated mouthwash that prevents infection and instructions on how to care for the incisions inside the mouth. A liquid diet will be required for the first few days post-procedure but most likely the only temporary lifestyle change that is experienced. Most patients can continue with their normal activities a day after the surgery. 

Patients will notice the new face shape about 2-3 weeks after the surgery, with the final results being more evident after 2-3 months, allowing the remaining fat to settle into the new areas of the face. 

Who Makes a Good Candidate for Cheek Reduction Surgery? 

An ideal candidate for a buccal fat removal surgery is a patient in their 20s-40s who is relatively in good physical shape and is a non-smoker. In addition, a patient with a naturally round face with large amounts of buccal fat in the cheeks and with realistic expectations for cosmetic surgery results. An ideal patient understands the long-term effects created by the procedure. 

Once you remove the fat, there isn’t a way to reverse the results. And we also want to point out; overall facial fat will dissipate as we age with every decade that passes, causing the cheeks to hollow out further.

Who is Not Ideal for a Buccal Fat Pad Removal Procedure? 

Patients considered clinically overweight or who may have recently gained weight in the face and body are not recommended to perform a buccal fat removal surgery. The fullness in the face is not from the prominent buccal fat pads, and this may not be the ideal surgery to help contour the face. 

Final Takeaway - Buccal Fat Removal for the Cheeks

Removing small amounts of fat from the cheeks can create such a dramatic difference in the face shape. Transforming the look of a “baby face” adult to a more angular and chiseled appearance, no longer worrying about having a “chipmunk” shaped face. 

To find out if you are an ideal candidate for a buccal fat pad removal surgery, consult with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon to discuss your ultimate vision to achieve a more sculpted and contoured face shape. 


Please login to leave comments here >>
-- No Comment --