Buccal Fat Removal
DURATION: 30 minutes
RECOVERY: minimal swelling for one month, dissolving sutures
INSURANCE COVERAGE: No
What is buccal lipectomy? Buccal lipectomy is the removal of a pocket of fat in your cheeks. There are many misconceptions about this procedure but the bottom line is: its safe, quick and no more painful than a cavity filling at your dentist.
Where is the buccal fat pad? The buccal fat pad lies in front of the masseter muscle and below the cheek bones. See the area it is demarcated in the image below. The fat pad is the one that makes babies cheeks look round. Some of us don’t loose this fat even when we loose weight so you can elect to have it reduced. Anatomically it is in 3 parts and only 2 of them are removed in their entirety during the procedure.
What will removal make me look like? Removal doesn’t give you a sucked in cheek appearance at all times. It will subtly change the contours of your midface which in reality enhances and better outlines your cheekbones.
Am I a good candidate? The ideal patient truly has stubborn “baby fat.” For younger patients I will look at their mother’s photo to determine what their pattern of facial fat loss will be. If it is removed and later you loose the fat in that area you will look aged and “gaunt” as you age. This isn’t an unfixable problem and often the discussion leads to: why would I NOT look good in my 20’s so I can look slightly better in your 60’s?
What is the procedure like? I recommend that the procedure be done with a numbing shot (local anesthetic like a dentists office). Then a 1cm incision is made in your cheek and then the fat is gently teased out. One dissolvable stitch is used to close each side. You then go home right after. It takes 30-45 minutes in total.
What is recovery like? You will be swollen for a day and need at least 3-4 weeks to see the results. Some people swell longer than others. You can resume your regular diet and activity the day after the procedure. You will have some antibiotics and a mouth wash and do not need any pain medication stronger than acetaminophen.