The Benefits and Risks of Buccal Fat Removal

The Benefits and Risks of Buccal Fat Removal: A Comprehensive Guide

Buccal fat removal or cheek reduction surgery helps shape your face, bringing out sharp cheekbones and a sleek facial curve. This procedure involves cuts inside your mouth to get to the buccal fat pads and remove part of them for that aesthetic outcome you desire. However, as with any surgical procedure, there might be risks such as swelling, bruising or infection. Knowing these points offer a clearer picture on whether getting your cheeks reduced suits your personal need and matches your aesthetic vision.

The benefits of buccal fat removal include achieving a more contoured facial appearance with defined cheeks and minimal scarring. However, it’s important to consider potential risks such as temporary swelling, asymmetry, or the development of hollow cheeks with age. It is crucial to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss individual concerns and determine if buccal fat removal is appropriate for you.

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What is Buccal Fat Removal?

So, what exactly is buccal fat removal? Well, imagine your cheeks as two puffy pillows – the buccal fat pads are what give them that round, youthful appearance. Buccal fat removal, also known as cheek reduction surgery, is a cosmetic procedure aimed at addressing those “puffy pillow” cheeks. By reducing the volume of these fat pads in the cheeks, it’s possible to sculpt the face and create a more defined facial contour.

This surgical process isn’t just about removing fat; it can help highlight and enhance your natural cheekbone structure, giving your face an elegant and sophisticated look. The goal is not to simply slim down the cheeks but to achieve a harmonious balance and symmetry that complements your unique facial features.

The Procedure

When you undergo buccal fat removal, the procedure typically begins with making small incisions inside the mouth, also known as intraoral incisions. This means there won’t be any visible scarring on your face! Through these incisions, the surgeon accesses the buccal fat pads.

Now here’s where the magic happens. The surgeon carefully removes a portion of the buccal fat pads to achieve the desired aesthetic effect. The amount of fat removed will depend on your individual goals for facial definition. It’s important to note that this isn’t just a simple procedure – it requires skill and precision from a qualified plastic surgeon specializing in facial procedures.

Afterward, the incisions are meticulously closed to ensure proper healing. Now, keep in mind that this procedure is permanent—the fat removed won’t grow back. So if you’re looking for long-term results to enhance your facial features, this might be an attractive option.

The Upsides of Buccal Fat Removal

One of the most prominent benefits of buccal fat removal is its ability to create a slimmer, more sculpted appearance in the face. Many individuals opt for this procedure to achieve a more defined and refined look, particularly in the cheek area.

By reducing the size of the buccal fat pad, which is responsible for those pesky chubby cheeks, the overall effect is often a noticeable slimming down of the face. This can be especially appealing for individuals seeking a more angular, chiseled appearance—an opportunity to enhance your natural bone structure by eliminating excess fullness in the cheeks.

Another major advantage lies in the enhancement of facial contours. When the chubby cheeks are minimized through buccal fat removal, it can significantly improve the definition of the cheekbones and jawline, leading to a more aesthetically pleasing facial structure and accentuated features that may have been less pronounced before.

Oftentimes, individuals considering this procedure are seeking these specific enhancements for various reasons—they may desire a more defined jawline or cheekbones, or simply wish to reduce face roundness for a sleeker and more mature appearance. The promise of achieving these aesthetic goals can be quite alluring for many people seeking such changes.

Furthermore, achieving defined facial contours through buccal fat removal can lead to improved confidence and self-esteem. It’s common for individuals to feel more content with their appearance when they see their idealized facial features emerge following the procedure.

Imagine feeling more comfortable taking selfies or engaging in public speaking events due to newfound confidence in your appearance. For many recipients of buccal fat removal, this transformation in self-perception can be immensely empowering and contribute positively to various aspects of their personal and professional lives.

The positive impact on one’s appearance and self-confidence paints an enticing picture of the benefits associated with buccal fat removal. But as with any cosmetic procedure, it’s important to carefully consider both sides before making an informed decision.

Potential Downsides and Risks of Buccal Fat Removal


While buccal fat removal can provide satisfying results for many individuals, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential drawbacks and risks associated with the procedure. Understanding these factors will aid in making a well-informed decision regarding whether the benefits outweigh the potential downsides.

Swelling and Recovery

After buccal fat removal surgery, temporary swelling is common and typically lasts for a couple of weeks. However, full results may not be apparent for about three months, requiring patience that might impact an individual’s regular routine and social engagements. Patients considering this procedure should carefully consider the downtime involved in recovery, ensuring it aligns with their lifestyle and personal commitments.

Additionally, post-surgery care holds significant importance in managing swelling and supporting optimal recovery. It is recommended to diligently follow your surgeon’s instructions, which may include using cold compresses and keeping the head elevated during sleep to alleviate swelling. Furthermore, taking prescribed medication and adhering to a balanced diet can contribute to a smoother recuperation process. Realistic expectations during this period are essential, understanding that visible results will manifest gradually over time.

Long-Term Concerns

Beyond the initial recovery phase, individuals contemplating buccal fat removal should also consider potential long-term effects. One concern is the possibility of developing hollow cheeks with age if the procedure is overdone. Natural changes in facial fat distribution occur as part of the aging process, potentially exacerbating the slimming effects achieved through buccal fat removal. It’s crucial for individuals to assess how their facial features may change over time and whether buccal fat removal aligns with their long-term aesthetic goals.

Moreover, cheek asymmetry is another long-term consideration following buccal fat removal. While reputable surgeons take great care to maintain facial symmetry during the procedure, there is a potential risk of unevenness emerging as the face settles into its new shape post-surgery. Asymmetry poses concerns for some individuals, highlighting the importance of thorough discussions with a qualified surgeon prior to undergoing the procedure.

By being fully informed about these potential challenges and risks, individuals can approach buccal fat removal with a greater understanding of what to expect throughout both the recovery period and beyond.

As you weigh these factors in considering buccal fat removal, it’s important to delve into the preliminary steps and preparations that can set the stage for a successful outcome.

What to Do Before Buccal Fat Removal

Before undergoing buccal fat removal, certain crucial steps should be taken to ensure full preparedness for the procedure. Let’s explore each one to understand what needs to be done before proceeding with the surgery.

Consultation with a Specialist

The first vital step is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified facial plastic surgeon specializing in buccal fat removal. During this consult, you have the chance to discuss your aesthetic goals, any concerns about the procedure, and expectations. Openly communicating your desired outcome, along with any fears or doubts, is important. This is also an opportunity for the surgeon to evaluate if you are a suitable candidate based on your facial anatomy and health status.

It might be helpful to jot down any questions you have in advance to ensure all your concerns are addressed during the consultation. Feeling anxious or uncertain before a surgical procedure is normal, so seek clarification on any aspect of the surgery.

Understand the Procedure

Once you’ve scheduled your consultation, it’s essential to gain a comprehensive understanding of buccal fat removal surgery. Use this opportunity to ask about potential benefits, risks, and the recovery process. Understanding these details will help you make an informed decision about whether buccal fat removal aligns with your aesthetic goals and lifestyle.

By learning about the specifics of the surgery, including the techniques involved and expected outcomes, you’ll be better equipped to assess whether it’s the right path for you.

Pre-Surgery Preparations

In preparation for buccal fat removal, diligently follow the pre-operative instructions outlined by your surgeon. These instructions may include dietary restrictions prior to the procedure and a list of medications to temporarily cease. Adhering to these guidelines optimizes your chances of a smooth surgery and recovery process.

For instance, your surgeon might advise avoiding certain blood-thinning medications or supplements in the weeks leading up to your surgery date. This minimizes the risk of excessive bleeding during and after the procedure.

By thoroughly addressing these pre-operative steps, you can ensure preparedness for buccal fat removal, setting the stage for a successful surgical experience and optimal results.

What to Expect During Recovery From Buccal Fat Removal

buccal fat removal

After undergoing buccal fat removal, you may feel some discomfort and notice swelling and bruising around your cheek area. This is completely normal and is part of the body’s natural response to surgery. The good news is that these symptoms are temporary and will gradually improve as you progress through your recovery. Let’s explore the details of what you can anticipate during your recovery period.

Immediate Post-Surgery Care

Immediately after the procedure, your surgeon will provide specific post-operative care instructions. These instructions may include:

  • How to manage discomfort
  • Guidelines for managing swelling and bruising
  • Instructions for cleaning the incision site, which is typically inside the mouth, to prevent infection

It’s crucial to follow these instructions carefully to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications. Your surgeon may also recommend dietary restrictions and prescribe pain medication to manage any discomfort during the initial stages of recovery.

Swelling and Bruising

Swelling and bruising are common side effects following buccal fat removal. The extent of swelling and bruising varies from person to person, but they typically peak within 48 hours after surgery before gradually subsiding over the following weeks. To alleviate swelling, applying cold compresses to the cheeks can be helpful. It’s essential to avoid placing ice or cold packs directly on the skin to prevent frostbite or skin damage.

Managing Discomfort

Patients may experience mild to moderate discomfort, especially during the first few days following surgery. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication to alleviate any discomfort. Additionally, maintaining a soft diet for a few days can help minimize strain on the cheeks while they heal.

Long-Term Healing Process

As with any surgical procedure, patience is key during the healing process. While immediate improvements in facial contour may be noticeable once swelling subsides, it’s important to realize that the complete healing process will unfold over time. It can take several months before the final results of buccal fat removal become fully evident. During this period, it’s essential to attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor your progress and address any concerns that may arise.

Lifestyle Adjustments

During the initial phase of recovery, it’s recommended to avoid strenuous physical activities and sports that could potentially impact the healing process or cause injury. As your healing progresses, your surgeon will provide guidance on gradually resuming your normal activities and incorporating them into your daily routine.

Emotional Support

Recovery from buccal fat removal not only entails physical healing but also emotional adjustment as you witness changes in your facial appearance. It’s perfectly normal to experience fluctuations in emotions during this time. Seeking support from loved ones or discussing any concerns with your surgeon can offer valuable reassurance and aid in navigating this phase more comfortably.

Understanding what lies ahead during your recovery journey following buccal fat removal empowers you to approach it with confidence and attentiveness as you embark on the path towards complete healing and transformation.

Psychological Impacts of Buccal Fat Removal

Undergoing buccal fat removal isn’t just a physical transformation; it also affects one’s mental and emotional well-being. One of the primary psychological aspects to consider is how the procedure may influence a person’s body image and self-esteem.

Body Image Considerations

The decision to undergo any form of cosmetic surgery has implications beyond physical changes. It’s important for patients to be mindful of their body image before and after the procedure. While buccal fat removal can enhance facial contours and contribute to overall appearance, it’s crucial for individuals to have realistic expectations about the outcomes and effects on their self-perception.

Body image is often deeply tied to an individual’s sense of self-worth and confidence. Therefore, patients contemplating buccal fat removal should engage in meaningful discussions with their surgeon about the potential psychological effects, ensuring that they are mentally equipped for the transformation. Setting realistic expectations about the changes in facial appearance is vital for psychological preparation. By managing these expectations, individuals can approach the surgery with a balanced perspective, resulting in a smoother emotional transition post-surgery.

Managing Expectations

Understanding the mental and emotional implications of the surgery, and anticipating the changes in facial appearance, is vital for psychological preparation.

Patients should engage in open conversations with their healthcare providers regarding their emotional readiness for change, as well as their understanding of how the surgery might influence their self-image and confidence levels. This proactive approach allows for comprehensive mental preparation pre-surgery—an integral aspect in promoting positive psychological responses post-procedure.

For instance, discussing potential alterations in facial fullness or cheek contours with a professional can help individuals psychologically prepare for these changes. This proactive measure encourages individuals to align their expectations with the actual outcomes, diminishing any unanticipated emotional distress.

To ensure optimal psychological preparation, it’s imperative for individuals to consider both the physical improvements and potential mental adjustments associated with buccal fat removal. This holistic approach stands to significantly impact overall satisfaction and emotional wellness during the recovery phase.

Choosing the Right Surgeon for Buccal Fat Removal

Choosing a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon who specializes in the face is one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make when considering buccal fat removal. Our board certified doctors here at Utah Facial Plastics are both highly qualified and experienced in this type of surgery. Here are essential factors to consider when selecting a surgeon:

Credentials and Experience

Ensuring that your surgeon is board-certified and has specific expertise in facial plastic surgery is paramount. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) certification and membership with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) are significant indicators of a surgeon’s training and experience. Surgeons who hold these credentials have undergone rigorous training, passed comprehensive exams, and adhere to high ethical standards.

Moreover, the number of years a surgeon has been practicing, particularly in performing buccal fat removal procedures, is an important factor to consider. Experienced surgeons have likely encountered a wide range of facial anatomies and understand the nuances of achieving natural-looking results. Their extensive portfolio of successful surgeries also serves as a testament to their skill and expertise.

Patient Reviews and Testimonials

It’s essential to gain insights into the satisfaction and outcomes of previous patients who have undergone buccal fat removal with the surgeon you’re considering. Researching patient reviews and testimonials provides valuable first-hand accounts of their experiences, the quality of care received, and the final results of the procedure.

Look for consistent positive feedback related to the surgeon’s bedside manner, communication style, attentiveness to patient concerns, post-operative care, and, most importantly, the overall satisfaction with the outcomes. Conversely, pay attention to any red flags or recurring negative experiences mentioned across multiple reviews.

Read Utah Facial Plastics reviews here.


Arranging consultations with multiple board-certified plastic surgeons allows you to assess their approach to buccal fat removal, evaluate their communication style, and determine their suitability for addressing your specific concerns. Contact us today for a buccal fat surgery consultation.

By thoroughly evaluating each surgeon’s credentials, patient feedback, and personal interactions during consultations, you can make an informed decision about entrusting your buccal fat removal procedure to a skilled and reputable professional.

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