About the Procedure
As you know, we aren’t all born with the perfect facial features. For some, the problem is that the fat pads that lie deep beneath the surface of the skin. This fat, called buccal (pronounce like “buckle”) fat, can create an appearance of weight where it doesn’t belong. If you recall having childhood nicknames that include “chubby cheeks” or “chipmunk cheeks,” you can probably thank those buccal fat pads that are part of your DNA.
In our Henderson Plastic Surgery office, Dr. Shah can do away with your buccal fat for good. The buccal fat pad removal procedure is minimally invasive and efficient in its technique of enhancing the contours of the face.
What is buccal fat removal?
Buccal fat removal is the surgical procedure that removes the form-stable fat pads that sit in the hollow of the cheek. This naturally-occurring fat pad varies in size from one person to another and can even vary in size from one side of the face to the other. Because these fat pads are a cohesive accumulation of fatty tissue, removal involves excision rather than liposuction.
Ideal Candidate for Buccal Fat Removal
An adult who notices a chubby appearance where the cheeks should be hollow may be a good candidate for buccal fat removal. Ideal candidates do not smoke and are in good general and emotional health. Patients can also achieve the best results when they are at a stable, healthy weight.
Benefits of Fat Removal
The primary reason why patients choose to undergo this procedure is to achieve facial definition through the removal of the buccal fat pads. Additional benefits include:
- Fat pad removal can permanently improve facial contouring.
- By enhancing the hollows of the cheeks, the cheekbones and the jawline become more prominent.
- Hidden incisions mean no visible scarring.
- Intra-oral incisions heal quickly.
- This procedure can be combined with others to further enhance facial beauty.
The Buccal Fat Removal Procedure
This minor surgery takes about an hour under local anesthetic much like when you go to the dentist. Patients can also suggest incorporating mild sedation into treatment to promote ultimate relaxation. General anesthesia may also be an option but is seldom needed unless buccal fat removal is being combined with another procedure such as a facelift.
Buccal fat lies too far beneath the surface and is too cohesive in form, to be removed with liposuction. After anesthetizing the area to block nerve sensations, Dr. Shah will make an incision on the inner cheek. This is a very small incision about 1cm long. Through the incision, our staff can then easily excise the fat pad. Then, typically with a single suture for each side, Dr. Shah will close the incisions.
Recovery from Fat Removal
There is a short recovery period after buccal fat removal surgery. Patients will likely feel swelling occurring more than they can see it. In some cases, it may not be noticeable at all due to the fact that structure has been removed from the area where swelling occurs. Essentially, the face may look the same for a short time until the swelling subsides.
For a few days after surgery, our staff advises patients to consume more liquids, such as smoothies, or very soft foods. A special oral rinse may also be recommended to inhibit bacterial infection around sutures. Until a full examination of your surgical site is performed and approved by Dr. Shah strenuous activity should be avoided.
Buccal Fat Removal Results
Initial swelling from the minor surgical procedure may somewhat impede the full spectrum of improvement. This swelling is often very minor, but it does perpetuate the appearance you had prior to surgery. So, for some time, it may seem as though nothing has changed.
However, in the weeks after surgery, the swelling will diminish gradually and you will notice more angles and contouring across the bottom of your cheek area. Additionally, results from buccal fat pad removal can last indefinitely.
Buccal Fat Removal Risks and Side Effects
Surgical risks for any medical or cosmetic procedure include bleeding, infection, and poor healing. During your consultation for buccal fat removal, we will discuss the details of surgery at length, including potential side effects.