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 intraoral 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.
Buccal fat can lead to an overly round face in select individuals. Its removal can lead to improvement in the facial appearance, leading to a more athletic sculpted appearance. Typically, buccal fat is removed from an incision inside the mouth allowing an expeditious recovery. Not every patient is a candidate for buccal fat removal so it is important for the patient to select a surgeon with a strong aesthetic sensibility in facial contouring.
Frequently Asked Questions:
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 minimal 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.
What is buccal fat removal?
Buccal fat removal is the removal of buccal fat in an effort to make the face look slimmer in appearance. Since the fat here is often resistant to weight loss, buccal fat removal can be helpful in defining the facial highlights.
Why have buccal fat removal?
Buccal fat removal serves to define the face and make it appear slimmer. This can create a more sculpted look to the face.
What is the procedure like?
The procedure is often performed as an in office procedure with minimal discomfort. Many patients equate this procedure feeling similar in scope to a “dental procedure”.
Am I candidate?
Good candidates for buccal fat have fuller faces with buccal fat contributing to the fullness. Patients with parents with fuller faces are good candidates as this can be an indicator on what to expect in facial aging in the patients many years later.
What are the risks?
There are significant risks in the procedure including risk of nerve injury and vascular injury as well as salivary duct injury. Patients should seek the procedure from a surgeon experienced in facial anatomy.
How soon can I return to work?
Most patients can return to work in 5 days with some patients requiring more and some less in recuperation time.
Can’t you just liposuction the face instead?
Liposuction of the face can lead to asymmetries while buccal fat removal is a safer procedure. In addition, buccal fat is encapsulated and fibrous which is resistant to liposuction and surrounded by delicate facial nerves and salivary ducts.
Are some doctors opposed to buccal fat removal?
Some doctors are opposed to buccal fat removal as in the wrong patients it can lead to an overly gaunt appearance and prematurely aged appearance. However, in a properly selected candidate buccal fat can lead to contouring of the face to improve facial shape and more athletic appearance. The buccal fat is often resistant to weight loss which means buccal fat removal may be the only option for some to contour the face.
What does the word buccal come from?
The word buccal comes from the latin word Bucca which translates to cheek. So buccal fat means “cheek fat”.
What is Dr. Shah’s philosophy on buccal fat removal?
In a properly selected patient, buccal fat removal can help to contour the face, particularly in a bottom heavy face. Buccal fat removal when done in the office with an experienced surgeon can be a gratifying procedure for patient and surgeon alike.
What makes Dr. Shah’s technique different?
Buccal fat pad removal is best performed with a microincision with minimal dissection and removing just the buccal fat pad. When I first started doing buccal fat removal the procedure took about 45 minutes to perform. Most surgeons take about 30 minutes or more. Now most of the time I can perform the procedure under 6 minutes. The benefit is that with less operative time to remove the fat pad patients look better sooner and have less bumps and lumps as they heal. I use a microincision inside the mouth rather than a standard incision which limits swelling, recovery and has patients feel better sooner. Finally, I have noticed that poor buccal fat pad results from other surgeons is often the removal of malar fat pad instead of buccal fat pad. Patients should make sure their surgeon has a deep understanding of facial anatomy to have this procedure performed since the buccal fat pad is located in the middle of the face.
How much does buccal fat removal cost?
Please contact the office for specific pricing. Since the procedure is done in an office setting, it is often priced competitively.
If I don’t numb well with local anesthesia should I do an office based procedure?
Some patients require larger than normal amounts of local anesthesia for a procedure and may benefit from doing the procedure under IV sedation or general anesthesia instead.
How can Dr. Shah perform the procedure in the office while other doctors do it in the operating room?
Dr. Shah can use an office based surgical suite to treat patients. Since Dr. Shah has great knowledge of facial anatomy he can make patients comfortable by blocking nerves making the procedure quite comfortable. Since Dr. Shah has performed this procedure frequently, Dr. Shah is able to find the buccal fat and remove it with a minimal incision and minimal operating room time making it easier for patients.
Where is Dr. Shah’s office located?
It is located on the 9th floor of the Water Tower Building in Chicago, Illinois 60611. You can schedule your consultation by calling the number below or filling out the form at the top of the page.
Can I have my face liposuctioned instead of buccal fat removal?
The way fat is distributed in the face is complex. There are various fat pads including the buccal, malar, temporal which are collections of fat. In addition, the fat can be distributed along the subcutaneous tissues. Large collections of fat can be liposuctioned elsewhere in the body, but the face is typically not an ideal location for this. Liposuction of the face can lead to irregualarities in the face and contour deficits. Buccal fat is a deeper fat pad whose removal avoids such issues.
Will buccal fat be reduced with exercise?
It depends. In some cases, buccal fat can be reduced by decreasing overall body fat percentage. However, in some individuals, even with low body fat percentages, buccal fat persists.
Can buccal fat return after its removal?
It depends. In some cases, a portion of buccal fat is removed to provide some contouring without a dramatic result. In these cases, fat can return if weight is added on. In cases where the complete buccal fat pad is removed, fat will not return to this area but can be distributed with other fat cells.
Do I need buccal fat?
No, buccal fat is a facial fat pad which does not serve a functional purpose. In most individuals, the buccal fat pad is cosmetically beneficial to help provide a supple contour to the face. However, in select individuals, particularly those with overly round faces, buccal fat removal may be beneficial to overall facial aesthetics.
What is buccal fat?
Buccal comes from the latin word bucca meaning related to the cheeks. Buccal fat is a discrete area of fat which collects in a pad along the cheek area.
Can I have buccal fat removed in the office?
Yes, buccal fat can be removed in an office setting.
What is the recovery like from buccal fat pad removal?
Typically, most patients are able to return to work the next day with little to no bruising or swelling.
How long before I can see a result after buccal fat removal?
Usually the immediate results are seen within a week. However, the final result will take about 3 months to be seen.
Do I need to eat special food after buccal fat removal?
Soft diet and liquids are easier to tolerate early on as there may be swelling in the cheeks.