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Discovering Buccal Fat: What You Need to Know

Discovering Buccal Fat: What You Need to Know

If you are looking for a way to get rid of your buccal fat, there are several options available. Keep reading to learn everything you should know about buccal fat. 

First of all: what is buccal fat? 

Buccal fat, also known as cheek fat, is the extra fat located in the cheeks. It's a common cause of facial aging because it can make your face look heavier and older than it is as the fat descends lower in the face and the fascia or connective tissue around the fat grows weaker.

How to remove buccal fat

Buccal fat reduction (buccal lipectomy) is a procedure that reduces the size of the cheek volume. This type of surgery can help slim the cheek and create a more tapered, heart-shaped mid and lower face. l

As a stand alone procedure, buccal fat can be removed through a small incision inside the mouth.  After applying local anesthetic, the surgeon can dissect the buccal fat from its surrounding muscle and fascial compartment using surgical instruments.  The fat is then excised and electrocautery is used to minimize bleeding. Once this has been done,  dissolving stitches are required to close the access incision.  This can be performed in the clinic with local anesthesia or in the operating room depending on patient preferences and comfort.

Buccal fat may also be removed from the cheek itself during a deep plane face lift.  Lifting the SMAS or fascia layer in the face can help expose the buccal fat, permitting its removal without an incision in the mouth.  

More About the Procedure 

Ideal Candidates

The best candidates for buccal fat removal are patients that are younger with full cheeks and face volume.  Results are best when soft tissues are still elastic and can shrink and tighten to the new volume that results after fat removal.  Fat and volume loss are part of the normal aging process.  Therefore, in older patients that are already experiencing volume loss, this is unlikely to be a good stand along procedure.

Contraindications
  • Patients with medical problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, or wound healing problems may not be ideal candidate for this surgery.  Taking blood thinners may also be a contraindication.
Procedure and Recovery
  • The procedure itself takes about an hour, and can be done in a surgeon's office or in a surgery center.
  • It is not generally painful and you will be made comfortable with local anesthesia.
  • The recovery process takes about a week, but most people are able to get back to work after just two days.
    • You may need to take pain medication (such as ibuprofen) and avoid strenuous activity for a few days after surgery. For some procedures, patients can return to work within one week.  Final results, though, may take several months to be fully realized.

The Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • The procedure is quick, usually only taking about an hour
  • It's also fairly painless, with patients reporting that they were able to go back to their regular activities within 24-48 hours.
  • There are no visible scars after the procedure has been completed.

Cons: 

  • For some patients, there can be swelling and bruising for up to two weeks after having their fat removed. 
  • Can sometimes result in discomfort or difficulty eating certain foods during this time period as well.
  • There are risks like bleeding, injury to nerves to the face, and even potential injury to parts of the salivary glands in the face.

Schedule a Consultation today! 

The risks of buccal fat removal are minimal, but it is important to be aware of them and discuss them with your doctor or health provider.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation! 

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