Buccal Fat Removal
The cheeks gain natural plumpness thanks to fat pads located in the mid-face, just below the cheekbones. In some situations, the plumpness of these fat pads, called buccal pads, gives the face too much roundness. Large buccal fat pads can create a “babyface” or chubby appearance that affects self-confidence. At our Lewisville office, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stuart Lipton offers buccal fat removal for patients seeking to enjoy a more chiseled, elegant face. Call 972-420-0023 today to schedule your personalized consultation!
What is Buccal Fat Removal?
“Chubby cheeks” is not a compliment pretty much anytime past infancy. However, many people retain this facial trait for their entire lives. Buccal fat pads are to blame. The removal of these pads, called bichectomy or buccal fat removal, is a quick procedure in which the fat pads are removed so the mid-face can take on a more chiseled, curved appearance.
How Does the Buccal Fat Removal Procedure Work?
It may take 30 minutes to an hour to perform the buccal fat removal procedure. To begin, the doctor will mark the areas of your cheeks that will be targeted. The buccal fat pads sit in the hollows just below the bony part of the cheekbone called the “apple.” Due to the depth of the fat pads and the visibility of the cheeks, the doctor will remove them through incisions made inside the mouth. Before making incisions, the doctor will administer a local anesthetic to the inner cheek area. This is similar to getting injections for dental work, except your gums are untouched. Only your cheek needs to be numbed. You may also be given a sedative prior to your procedure. When you are numb, Dr. Lipton will make an incision in one side of your mouth. He will carefully extract the buccal fat pad in one piece and will close the incision. The same process will be done on the opposite side, and then your procedure is complete. The stitches that are placed to close the incisions will dissolve naturally over the course of a few weeks.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Buccal Fat Removal?
The buccal fat removal procedure is ideal for people whose faces appear full or bloated. The term that many of our patients use to describe their appearance is “chipmunk cheeks.” In addition to having this characteristic, you must also be in good health to safely undergo buccal fat removal. Dr. Lipton will perform a thorough consultation and examination with you, will answer your questions, and explain how the removal of buccal fat may improve your facial contours. If you smoke, you will need to quit several weeks before surgery. Due to the placement of incisions, you may also be advised to refrain from smoking for at least a few weeks after surgery as well.
What is the Recovery Like After the Procedure?
Expect to have some swelling and bruising after your buccal fat removal procedure. You may gently apply an ice pack or take over-the-counter medication to reduce these side effects. You will also be given a prescription for antibiotics and pain medication, which you should take strictly as directed. To help your swelling and bruising resolve as quickly as possible, you can sleep with your head slightly elevated for a few nights. While your surgical incisions are healing, you’ll also need to eat softer foods like smoothies and soup. Usually, this restriction lasts only a day or two. Still, throughout the first week of recovery, you may want to avoid hard and crunchy foods. While you should refrain from engaging in strenuous activities for a full two weeks, you may be able to go back to work five to seven days after having buccal fat removal.
How Long Will it Take to See My Results After the Procedure?
You may see a difference in the shape of your face right after your procedure. However, as natural swelling occurs, your initial results may become somewhat distorted for a short time. Usually, surgical swelling diminishes a lot in the two weeks after surgery. Once your swelling subsides, you will once again begin to see your new facial contours. The improvements can continue for up to four months.
Is Buccal Fat Removal Painful?
Buccal fat removal does not hurt. Many people undergo this procedure with a shot of local anesthesia and a mild sedative. Depending on your treatment plan, Dr. Lipton may choose to perform your surgery using general anesthesia. You can discuss this with him during your consultation. In terms of post-operative pain, you can expect to feel sore or tender but not so much that you cannot resume light activities within about a week.
What is Buccal Fat?
Buccal fat, pronounced “buckle,” is a type of adipose fat that helps give your face shape. The fat that is located in the different parts of the face is positioned in compartments. Some are superficial and some are deep. Buccal fat is positioned in deep compartments located near the masseter muscle, the corners of the mouth, and the temple, to name a few.
Is Buccal Fat Removal Liposuction of the Cheeks?
No. Liposuction is the procedure that removes subcutaneous fat. This is the looser fat that’s positioned just below the skin. Buccal fat is not only deeper beneath the skin but it’s also situated in close proximity to facial nerves, where liposuction could cause unintentional damage.
Can Kybella be Used on Buccal Fat?
It isn’t wise to seek Kybella treatment for the correction of “chipmunk cheeks.” This injectable treatment, approved as a nonsurgical treatment for double-chin fat, works by introducing deoxycholic acid into the intercellular space in the layer of subcutaneous fat. Beneath the chin, where it’s intended for us, there are fewer crucial nerve endings than there are in the face. Our nerves have a protective myelin sheath, which can be targeted by deoxycholic acid in the same manner as fat. The effects on the nerves may not be permanent, but even temporary nerve dysfunction, especially around the mouth, can be unpleasant. Until the myelin sheath is regenerated naturally, your smile might be somewhat off.
Can I Get Buccal Fat Removal with a Facelift?
Yes! Buccal fat can be removed as a part of a facelift. If this is your preference, then the buccal fat pads will be removed through your facelift incisions rather than incisions inside your mouth. If you’re scheduled for a facelift with Dr. Lipton and you’re curious about how buccal fat removal might enhance your results, you can learn all about the combination procedure during your consultation.
When Will I See the Results of My Buccal Fat Removal?
You can expect some swelling and possibly bruising during your initial recovery period after buccal fat removal. The obvious swelling may resolve within a week or two, but deeper swelling may continue to obscure the final outcome of your surgery for up to three months. After a few weeks, you may notice that your face is starting to look slimmer and more contoured. These results can continue to improve for several more weeks.
Are the Results of Buccal Fat Removal Permanent?
Your buccal fat removal will incur permanent results. This is because the buccal fat pads are not influenced by your weight. If you gain weight after your facial surgery, your contours may diminish, but this will be due to the expansion of subcutaneous fat, not your buccal fat. Now, there is another aspect of buccal fat pad removal being permanent to consider. Once the fat is removed, none will come in to take its place. As you age, your facial fat naturally diminishes, so there is a slight risk that your cheek contours may be more obvious than you’d like. In this instance, it may be possible to restore some fullness using dermal fillers or a fat grafting procedure.
Schedule A Consultation
For more information regarding buccal fat removal and to learn if you would be a good candidate for this procedure, contact our office today at 972.420.0023. We are proud to serve Lewisville and surrounding areas in Texas.