Buccal fat removal refers to a procedure where fat is removed the face to make the lower and middle portion appear thinner. The removal of buccal fat is performed on select individuals with fuller faces who may benefit from a more sculpted appearance.
The buccal fat pad is different from other fat in the face in that it exists as a fat pad and is encapsulated. This allows for it to be directly removed without the use of liposuction. Liposuction, while a good process for the neck, is much riskier on the face due to a possibility of facial deficits or depressions being created. Buccal fat is located between the buccinator muscle and superficial muscles of the face.
Buccal fat can be removed in one of two methods. First of all, buccal fat can be removed from inside the cheek area. A small incision is made in the lining of the cheek and then the buccal fat can be extracted from the face. The alternate approach is through a facelift incision, where the buccal fat is pushed through the cheek area on a deep facelift approach. For most patients, isolated buccal fat removal occurs through an inside the mouth or intraoral approach.
Recovery from buccal fat is typically quick. Since there are no outside incisions, patients will have some introral swelling with less swelling in the cheek area. Patients should note that results may take up to three months or more to see a "final result" for a sculpted appearance to be seen.
Buccal fat removal can be performed as an in office procedure. This procedure is quite comfortable for patients to tolerate.
Are there risks with buccal fat removal?
Yes, the buccal fat pad is near facial nerve and parotid duct as well as other vital structures in the face. A surgeon with intimate knowledge of facial anatomy is the best choice.
Can I go home the same day as a buccal fat removal?
Yes, patients recover at home the same day as a buccal fat removal. Patients flying from afar are recommended to stay overnight prior to flying out.
Will I have sutures that need to be removed?
No, sutures are absorbable and placed in the mouth.
Is recovery painful?
Typically, there is mininimal discomfort after the procedure.
Are there restrictions after the procedure?
Limited physical exertion, avoidance of blood thinners are important for the first week after the procedure. In addition, avoidance of sharp foods such as chips is recommended. More detailed instructions are given in the office.
Is buccal fat removal for everyone?
No, buccal fat removal is for select individuals with large buccal fat pads. Dr. Shah can help determine if it is a procedure he recommends.