What is buccal fat?
Buccal fat is the fat pad that is deep in the lower cheek. It is often associated with a “baby face” or “chubby cheeks”. As we age, this fat pad usually deflates and creates a more chiseled or V-shape face. However, in some individuals, this can descend and create that rounder face appearance or jowls.
What is buccal fat removal and how is it performed?
Buccal fat pad removal is a procedure where the buccal fat is almost completely or partially removed to improve facial contour and give a more contoured lower face for those with protuberant lower cheeks.
This procedure can be performed two ways. The majority of the time, this procedure is done through an incision in the mouth, therefore there are not external incisions. The cheeks is numbed with local anesthetic. An incision is made inside the mouth in the cheek. Then the fat pad is dissected out and removed. Dissolvable sutures are placed.
The other way buccal fat is removed is during a deep plane facelift procedure. If a patient is undergoing a deep plane facelift, the buccal fat pad can be seen during the surgery and removed.
Buccal fat pad removal can be an isolated procedure to improve lower face contour. However, it is often paired with liposuction of the neck, chin implant or filler, radiofrequency skin tightening, and/or a neck lift depending on the patient in order to improve the overall appearance of the lower face.
Who is a candidate?
A candidate for buccal fat pad removal and complementary procedures is anyone with round, cherubic cheeks and neck fullness that desires a more defined lower face and jawline. In general, this procedure is done after the patient has gone through puberty and is at least in their 20s as the face thins out as we age.
Determining if you are a candidate for this procedure is done during an in person or virtual consultation with one of our board certified facial plastic surgeons. At this consultation, the surgeon may discuss other procedures and options in order to give you the best results.
What is the recovery time and expected results?
Patients can expect to have facial swelling similar to getting your wisdom teeth out in their cheeks for 1-2 weeks. After the procedure, you are given antibiotics and mouthwash to use after every meal for 2 weeks. Intraoral sutures will dissolve on their own. If the buccal fat is removed during a deep plane facelift, then the normal post-care for a facelift is done. We have our patients wearing a compression facial garment for the first week. We also give patients medications to reduce the swelling.
The best results and contour will occur at around 3 months once the swelling has had time to resolve and skin has shrunk wrap down.
Before After Before After
Actual buccal fat removal patient of Dr. Celeste Nagy