Buccal Fat Removal: Essential Information You Should Know

Buccal fat removal is a cosmetic surgical procedure that has been gaining popularity in recent years. It involves removing excess fat from the cheeks, resulting in a more defined facial structure.

The procedure is often sought after by individuals who are unhappy with the appearance of their face, particularly the fullness of their cheeks.

While buccal fat removal is a relatively simple procedure, it is important for individuals to be aware of what it entails before deciding to undergo it. This includes understanding the risks and potential side effects associated with the procedure, as well as the recovery process.

Individuals should also be aware that the results of the procedure are not always permanent, and that maintenance may be required to maintain the desired appearance.

Before deciding to undergo buccal fat removal, individuals should consult with a qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeon to determine whether they are a good candidate for the procedure.

The surgeon can also provide information on the specific techniques used during the procedure, as well as the expected outcome and recovery time.

Armed with this information, individuals can make an informed decision about whether buccal fat removal is right for them.

What is Buccal Fat Removal?

Buccal fat removal is a cosmetic surgical procedure that involves removing excess fat from the buccal fat pads located in the cheeks. The procedure is also known as cheek reduction surgery and is typically performed on individuals who have a round or chubby face.

The surgery is done in approximately 30 minutes and is usually performed under local anesthesia. The surgeon makes a small incision inside the mouth and removes the desired amount of fat from the buccal pads. The incision is then closed with dissolvable sutures, and patients can usually go home the same day.

It is important to note that buccal fat removal is not a weight loss procedure and should not be considered as a solution for obesity. It is also not recommended for individuals who have thin or angular faces, as it can lead to a gaunt appearance.

Candidates for Buccal Fat Removal

Buccal fat removal is a cosmetic surgical procedure that involves removing excess fat from the cheeks to give a more defined and contoured look. While anyone can undergo this procedure, there are certain factors that make someone a good candidate for buccal fat removal.

Firstly, a good candidate for buccal fat removal is someone who has a round, fuller face and desires a more chiseled or contoured appearance. This procedure is not recommended for individuals with a naturally lean or angular face structure.

Secondly, the ideal candidate is someone who is in good physical health and at a healthy weight. Buccal fat removal is not a weight loss procedure, and individuals who are significantly overweight may not see the desired results.

Thirdly, it is important to have realistic expectations about the results of the procedure. While buccal fat removal can provide a more defined and contoured appearance, it is not a solution for sagging skin or wrinkles.

Lastly, a good candidate for buccal fat removal is someone who is mentally and emotionally prepared for the procedure. It is important to have a clear understanding of the risks and benefits of the procedure and to be able to handle the recovery process.

Overall, the decision to undergo buccal fat removal should be made after careful consideration and consultation with a qualified cosmetic surgeon.

The Procedure

Before undergoing buccal fat removal, there are several things to consider. Patients should have a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss their goals and determine if they are a good candidate for the procedure.

The surgeon will evaluate the patient’s facial structure and the amount of fat in their cheeks to determine if they can achieve the desired results.


Prior to the procedure, patients will need to follow specific instructions provided by the surgeon. These may include avoiding certain medications, fasting for a specific period, and arranging for someone to drive them home after the surgery. Patients should also arrange to take time off work or other activities to allow for proper recovery.


Buccal fat removal is typically performed under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia. The type of anesthesia used will depend on the patient’s preference, the surgeon’s recommendation, and the complexity of the procedure.

Incisions and Removal

During the procedure, the surgeon will make small incisions inside the mouth, typically near the upper molars. Through these incisions, the surgeon will remove the buccal fat pads, which are located in the lower cheeks. The amount of fat removed will depend on the patient’s goals and the surgeon’s recommendations.

The procedure typically takes less than an hour, and patients can go home the same day.

Closing Incisions

After the buccal fat pads have been removed, the surgeon will close the incisions with dissolvable stitches. Patients may experience some swelling and discomfort after the procedure, but this is normal and can be managed with pain medication and cold compresses.

Patients should follow all post-operative instructions provided by the surgeon to ensure proper healing and optimal results.

Recovery and Results

After a buccal fat removal procedure, patients can expect some swelling and discomfort. However, most patients can return to work or other activities within a few days.

Recovery Time

Following the surgery, patients may be instructed to stay on a liquid diet for several days or longer. They may also be given special mouth rinses to reduce the risk of infection. Patients should expect some swelling and discomfort in the first few days after the surgery.

They should avoid strenuous physical activity and follow their surgeon’s specific instructions for post-operative care.


Buccal fat removal can result in a more defined facial structure, especially around the cheekbones and jawline. However, it is important to note that the results may not be visible immediately after the surgery due to swelling.

Patients should expect to see the final results of the procedure after several weeks or months.

It is important to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with experience in buccal fat removal to achieve the best possible results. Patients should also have realistic expectations and understand that the results may vary depending on their individual facial structure and other factors.

Risks and Complications

Buccal fat removal is generally considered a safe procedure. However, like all surgical procedures, it carries some risks and potential complications.

Some of the possible risks and complications of buccal fat removal surgery include:

  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Fluid accumulation (seroma)
  • Hematoma
  • Infection
  • Injury to a salivary duct
  • Injury to branches of the facial nerve, resulting in temporary or permanent facial muscle weakness
  • Negative reactions to anesthesia or medication
  • Numbness or sensation changes
  • Undesirable results or excess removal of fat

It is important to discuss these risks and potential complications with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon before deciding to undergo buccal fat removal surgery.

In rare cases, patients may experience nerve damage, resulting in pain or numbness. Additionally, some patients may experience asymmetry or other undesirable cosmetic results.

Patients should be aware that results may vary and that it may take several weeks or even months to see the full results of the procedure.

Overall, buccal fat removal is a safe and effective way to achieve a more contoured and defined facial appearance. However, patients should be aware of the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure and should discuss these with their plastic surgeon before making a decision.

Cost and Financing Options

Buccal fat removal is an elective cosmetic surgery, which means that it is not covered by insurance. The cost of the procedure varies depending on several factors, including the surgeon’s experience, the geographic location of the practice, and the complexity of the surgery.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of buccal fat removal in the United States is $3,961. However, the price can range from just $1,000 to as much as $20,000.

It is important for patients to understand that the cost of the procedure may not include all of the associated expenses, such as anesthesia fees, facility fees, and follow-up appointments.

Patients should discuss these costs with their surgeon during the consultation process to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the total cost of the procedure.

Financing options may be available for patients who are unable to pay for the procedure upfront. Some plastic surgery practices offer financing plans that allow patients to pay for the procedure over time. Patients should inquire about these options during their consultation with their surgeon.

It is important for patients to choose a surgeon who is experienced in performing buccal fat removal. While cost is an important factor to consider, patients should prioritize the quality of care and the expertise of the surgeon.

Patients should research potential surgeons and read reviews from previous patients to ensure that they are making an informed decision.