You’ve probably seen it: the latest plastic surgery craze on social media is buccal fat removal. It sounds like a brand new cosmetic procedure just because it hasn’t received as much attention before, but really, this procedure has been around for a long time.

Buccal fat is basically cheek fat. The average size of the buccal fat pad varies from person to person. Some people have large buccal fat pads, which may create the appearance of “chubby cheeks.” Meanwhile, others have smaller fat pads resulting in a naturally slim face.

While the super-chiseled-cheek-look may seem great right now, it may not be so great once you get older. That’s because you naturally lose fat in your face as you age. So someone who has undergone buccal fat removal in their young years may look far older than they actually are once they reach their 40s and 50s.

Below, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Daneshmand discusses the benefits and risks of this latest plastic surgery craze. Additionally, he discusses who might be a good candidate for this procedure, as well as who isn’t.

If you’re considering cheek reduction surgery or any other type of surgery, Dr. Daneshmand at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute can help. Call 949-359-8397 to schedule an appointment at our clinic today.

What is Buccal Fat?

Buccal fat is basically cheek fat. Buccal fat pads are located in the hollow area under your cheekbone. Everyone has buccal fat pads, some are just larger than others. Large buccal fat pads can make someone look like they have chubby cheeks, a round face, or a “baby face.” There is nothing wrong with having round cheeks, but some people feel really insecure about this facial feature anyway. That is why more and more people are turning to buccal fat pad removal.

What is Buccal Fat Removal?

Buccal fat removal, also called cheek reduction surgery, gives a more chiseled appearance to the face by removing the buccal fat pads from the cheek hollows. Lack of fat tissue in the cheeks can accentuate bone structure and other facial features.

You can undergo buccal fat removal alone, or you can undergo other facial surgeries as well, including:

Undergoing one or more of these procedures can improve facial aesthetics and self confidence. It all depends on your personal aesthetic goals.

Why is Everyone Talking About Buccal Fat Removal All of the Sudden?

Buccal fat removal has been around for a while, but in the last few months specifically, the surgical procedure has gained popularity on social media. In fact, Google searches about buccal fat removal skyrocketed around December 11, 2022 due to the conversations happening on social media. So, why is everyone so interested in this cosmetic procedure all of the sudden? Is buccal fat excision the new BBL?

The main reason why there has been a major spike in conversation about buccal fat pad excision is because more celebrities, such as Chrissy Teigan, are openly talking about their experiences with the procedure. A recent Instagram picture posted by Lea Michele caused avid social media users to speculate whether or not she has had her buccal fat removed, although Michele has neither confirmed nor denied that she has undergone the procedure.

If you’re interested in achieving a more contoured face through buccal fat removal, it’s important to fully read up on the risks. Removing buccal fat gives a gaunt appearance to the face, which was very popular in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Over the past few years, the beauty trend has been coming back around. Board certified plastic surgeons and dermatologists have been explaining (via TikTok specifically) that while having prominent cheek hollows may seem appealing at first, it’s important to remember that this is a permanent procedure. As you age, you will naturally lose facial volume as well as skin elasticity. The combination of sagging skin and a gaunt facial appearance will make you look much older than you actually are.

So think carefully about removing fat from your cheeks. You don’t want to regret undergoing the surgical procedure just because it was trendy at the time.

buccal fat

Who is a Good Candidate for Cheek Reduction Surgery?

With that being said, buccal fat removal can be a great option for people who are very insecure about the size of their cheeks or the shape of their face. You may be a good candidate for buccal fat removal if you:

  • Have good physical health.
  • Are at a healthy, stable weight.
  • Have “chubby cheeks” or a round face.
  • Have pseudoherniation of one or more buccal fat pads (this means you have a noticeable pocket of fat in the cheek due to a weak buccal fat pad).
  • Are very insecure about the size of your cheeks or the shape of your face.
  • Are interested in undergoing facial feminization surgery.
  • Don’t smoke.

On the other hand, you might not be a good candidate for buccal fat pad removal if you already have a naturally thin face, you’re past middle age, or you have Parry-Romberg syndrome which can affect the buccal fat pads. The only way to know for sure if you’re a good candidate is to schedule an appointment with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Daneshmand. He will examine your face, listen to your concerns, review your medical history, and help you determine if buccal fat removal is the best procedure for you.

How Cheek Reduction Surgery Works

Buccal fat removal is generally an outpatient procedure, as long as you’re not undergoing more than one cosmetic procedure. This is how it works:

You will first be sedated with either local anesthesia or general anesthesia. If you’re only undergoing cheek reduction surgery, you may just receive a local anesthetic, which means you’ll be numb but awake. If you’re undergoing other procedures along with the buccal fat removal, then you’ll likely receive general anesthesia.

Next, Dr. Daneshmand will make a small incision inside your cheek in order to remove the buccal fat pads. Once he removes both fat pads, he will close the incisions with dissolvable stitches. You should be able to go home and recover on the same day as long as your vitals are good.

Buccal Fat Removal Recovery

Buccal fat removal recovery can take about three weeks. Dr. Daneshmand will send you home with specific instructions to follow during the healing process, such as following a liquid diet and using a specific mouthwash to prevent infection. After a week or two, you should be able to graduate to soft foods, and then back to your normal diet.

Moderate swelling, bruising, and mouth pain are normal during the healing process. All of this should diminish over the course of a few weeks. It’s important to note that you may not be able to see immediate results – like chiseled cheeks – until the swelling subsides.

Buccal Fat Removal Cost

According to RealSelf – a site where plastic surgery patients across the U.S. discuss their results and experiences – the average cost of buccal fat removal is $2,850. It’s important to remember that this price tag will vary significantly depending on your geographic location, your plastic surgeon’s experience, and whether or not you’re undergoing more than one procedure at a time. It’s also important to remember that health insurance likely won’t cover the cost of this surgery because it’s considered an elective procedure, not a necessary one.

Be sure to schedule an appointment at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute to know exactly how much your buccal fat pad excision will cost.

Cheek Reduction Risks and Complications

Just like any cosmetic surgery, buccal fat pad removal comes with a variety of risks and complications, including:

  • Mouth infection
  • Negative reactions to anesthesia
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Damage to the facial nerves
  • Hematoma (severe bruising)
  • Seroma (collection of fluid)
  • Damage to salivary glands
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Excessive fat tissue removal
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Lockjaw
  • Cardiopulmonary issues
  • Results that you don’t like which may lead to more plastic surgery
  • Premature facial aging

If you experience symptoms like severe infection, abnormal heartbeat, severe pain, excessive bleeding, chest pain, and shortness of breath, then you need to seek medical care immediately.

With all this being said, buccal fat removal is a routine and safe procedure that can give you the results that you want. Choosing an experienced board certified plastic surgeon, like Dr. Daneshmand, will drastically lower your chances of post-op complications.

buccal fat pad removal

Call Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute Today

If your face is much rounder than you would like and it causes your self-esteem to suffer, you may be a good candidate for buccal fat removal surgery. Dr. Daneshmand at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute has more than 30 years of experience in helping his patients feel more beautiful and confident. Call 949-359-8397 to schedule an appointment with him today.