A procedure that is rising in popularity due to the desire to achieve the coveted V-Line face shape. Dr Chia Hui Ling speaks to us on the things to know before considering buccal fat removal surgery. Dr Chia specialises in facial sculpting and is a female consultant plastic surgeon at SW1 Plastic Surgery Clinic.
What is buccal fat removal?
Buccal fat removal surgery, or buccal lipectomy, removes fat from the cheeks. This has a slimming effect for the face and helps to define your cheekbones. It has an effect on reducing the appearance of jowls too. (Trivia: Buccal comes from the Latin word bucca, which means “puffed cheek.”)
The size of buccal fat varies from person to person, regardless of weight. In fact, large buccal fat pads are often hereditary, and they aren’t affected by diet and exercise. While liposuction isn’t recommended for buccal fat pad reduction (because it can damage nerves), buccal fat removal is paired in some cases with liposuction on other parts of the face, to further slim and sculpt. It may also be combined with facial fillers, to give cheekbones even more prominence, or Lipodissolve to reduce a double chin and sculpt the jaw.
What are the pros and cons of buccal fat removal?
- You’ll have no visible scars from the cheek reduction, since the work is done inside your mouth.
- When done properly, it creates a slimmer and more sculpted lower cheeks and jawline
- Results are permanent, even if you gain weight.
- It’s a fast procedure: cheek fat removal typically takes just about 20 minutes.
- Downtime is relatively minimal, and most patients return to work after three days.
- If the surgeon removes too much fat or you lose weight post-procedure, your face may look too gaunt.
Who is and is not a good candidate for buccal fat pad removal?
Buccal fat removal is a nice procedure for patients who feel that their face is overly round or chubby. It creates a slimmer, contoured, and more sculpted lower third of the face. In overweight individuals, face chubbiness is also be due to fat under the skin (superficial fat), so removing deep buccal fat alone may not give the best result.
You can also have wide cheeks from overdeveloped jaw muscles. In that case, buccal fat removal would not help, and masseter botox is a better option
At the other end of the spectrum, if you already have a thin face, you run the risk of looking too gaunt without these naturally occurring fat pads.
What happens during buccal fat removal surgery?
Many describe that this surgery feels more like a dental procedure. The surgery starts with a topical anaesthetic. The surgeon then makes small incisions, 1-2cm, on the insides of your cheeks. The fat is then teased out gently and the incisions are closed with self-dissolving stitches. You will go home with home with a jaw strap for support, antibiotic medication, and a medicated mouthwash to prevent infection.
What should you expect during buccal fat removal recovery?
At home, you may be asked to apply ice packs to your cheeks and drink ice water for a few days to reduce swelling and discomfort. Swelling is usually minimal and bruising is uncommon. Due to the incisions inside your cheeks, stick to a soft-food diet and avoid anything too hot or spicy for at least 24 hours.
When will you see buccal fat removal results?
Most of the swelling will be gone within 5 days. However, it can take up to three or even six months to see your real results, as your skin settles into the space hollowed out by the fat removal.
What are the risks of buccal fat removal?
Salivary duct, facial nerve damage, bleeding and blood collection are uncommon but possible risks. Finding a fully-accredited plastic surgeon who is experienced in buccal fat removal is crucial for a smooth, safe surgery.
How much does buccal fat removal surgery cost?
The cost range from $2,500 to $4,000 depending on the experience of your surgeon.