All About Buccal Fat Removal Surgery and Recovery, I’d like to talk about one way to create a slimmer appearance to your face called buccal fat reduction. Buccal refers to the cheek, and there is a discrete fat pad within the cheek called Bichat’s fat pad or buccal fat.
Bichat’s fat pad or buccal fat does create a little bit of fullness in the cheek and causes fullness and roundness to the lower third of the face. Removing a portion of Bichat’s fat pad or buccal fat will create a slimmer appearance and it will create a more sculpted look to the cheekbones and a nicer contour to the cheek itself. Surgery can be performed under local or general anesthesia so that means that if you elect to, you can be completely asleep for the surgery.
During the surgery an incision is made below the salivary duct or Stenson’s duct that allows saliva flow inside the mouth, and so it is important for the surgeon to be meticulous in the dissection to avoid injury to that duct. In some patients that can create fullness in the cheek.
Through a small incision on the inside of the mouth we can access that fat, and remove the portion that’s causing the fullness and create a more tapered, defined appearance to the lower third of the face. Depending on the patient’s bone structure and facial features the surgeon can then titrate the amount of fat to remove from each cheek to enhance symmetry and also to create the desired effect of tapering. The incision will have absorbable stitches in place for two weeks.
Typically there is quite a bit of swelling associated with the procedure that can last one to two weeks. Buccal fat removal is not a painful surgery and so the biggest thing afterwards is maintaining a diet that’s not going to irritate the incisions as well as doing things to reduce the swelling along the cheeks, which includes limiting activity and icing.
I do keep patients on a liquid diet for the day of surgery but they can quickly advance to a soft diet the day after, and then a regular diet one week after surgery. Patients who are good candidates for the procedure are patients whose parents also have full cheeks. The facial slimming and contouring that happens with buccal fat removal is permanent because the fat pad that’s removed during the procedure is a discrete fat pad that’s independent of the subcutaneouns fat that’s underneath the skin that fluctuates with weight gain or weight loss.
This is a procedure that can be performed alone or in combination with other surgeries. If performed in combination it does not prolong healing because it actually heals simultaneously with those other procedures.