Many people are unhappy with chubby, round cheeks and want to have a more angular facial shape. Round "chipmunk" cheeks can be an aggravating facial feature to live with, but the condition doesn't have to be permanent — buccal fat removal could be what you're looking for. But what is the buccal fat pad excision procedure all about, and how do you know if it's right for you? Read on to learn what causes chubby cheeks and how a buccal fat pad excision could be the answer.
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What is Buccal Fat?
The buccal fat pad is the rounded mass of fat found in the middle of your cheek. It's in the hollow of your cheekbone between your facial muscles. Six ligaments keep the buccal fat pad in place. A person can have a differently sized and shaped buccal fat pad in each cheek.
Buccal fat's purpose is to act as gliding pads when facial muscles contract and cushion essential structures within your face.
A large buccal fat pad is often an inherited trait, and it may not shrink even if you have lost weight elsewhere. Because buccal fat is so difficult to eradicate by other means, people opt for a buccal fat pad excision to get the more angular facial contour they desire.
What is Buccal Fat Pad Removal?
Also known as a buccal lipectomy, buccal fat removal is a form of plastic surgery often completed with other facial surgery procedures. It requires an excision of fat to thin the cheeks and create a more angular facial shape. Studies show that more than 90% of people who undergo buccal fat removal say their cheeks look better or much better after the surgery.
People are more likely to be good candidates for buccal fat removal surgery if they:
- Are at a healthy weight
- Are in good physical shape
- Don't smoke
- Have full cheeks
- Have a rounded fat mass in their cheek due to a weak buccal fat pad, also called pseudoherniation
- Dislike the look of their round cheeks
A qualified plastic surgeon can help evaluate whether buccal fat removal is right for you.
How to Prepare for Buccal Fat Removal Surgery
As part of the consultation process, your surgeon will want to discuss your:
- Use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco
- Medications, including supplements and vitamins
- Medical conditions
- Goals and expectations
To prepare for buccal fat removal, you might be asked to get blood tests, change your medication regimen or limit your use of alcohol and tobacco.
What Is the Buccal Fat Pad Excision Process?
Considered a minimally invasive procedure, a buccal fat pad excision is performed under intravenous general anesthesia. The surgeon will place an incision on the inside of your mouth to expose the buccal fat pad. Extra pressure from the outside of the cheek may be required to properly expose the pad. After cutting and removing the fat, the surgeon will sew the incision up with absorbable sutures.
Recovery From Buccal Fat Removal Surgery
After the surgery, your face may be swollen and bruised, which will recede as you heal. You'll be given a special mouthwash to use to reduce the likelihood of infection, and you'll be on a liquid diet for several days as the incision heals. You'll then transition to soft foods before resuming your normal diet.
Trust Dr. Adam Basner With Your Buccal Fat Pad Excision
Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Adam Basner of The Plastic Surgery Center of Maryland is an expert at buccal fat removal surgery. Before performing a cheek reduction, Dr. Basner will have a consultation with you to assess your goals and options, ensuring you'll be confident about whatever decision you make. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Basner and discuss your buccal fat pad excision options, please call our plastic surgery practice in Baltimore at 410-616-3000 or contact us online.