Do you find yourself going straight to the contouring makeup aisle every time you enter the beauty store?
Does your face look disproportionately plump compared to the rest of your body?
No matter how fit you are or how well you take care of your body in the gym and the kitchen, your genetics may cause you to have rounder cheeks that don’t match the appearance of your body. This common insecurity of having a round face leads many people to Dr. Kaplan’s consultation chair, searching for a permanent solution.
Despite facial volume’s association with youthfulness, some people feel that they have too much, to the point where their face appears overweight compared to the rest of their body.
What is buccal fat removal?
Buccal fat removal is a procedure that involves surgically removing the cause of facial roundness: your buccal fat pads. As it allows surgeons to remove a portion of the fat pad as one single unit, unlike liposuction, buccal fat removal is a much simpler and quicker procedure than cheek liposculpture.
The incision is made inside the mouth, so you’ll walk out of Dr. Kaplan’s office with no visible scars. It’s normal to have some swelling and bruising right after surgery, but it should fade in the first one to two weeks following your buccal fat removal.
Am I a good candidate for buccal fat removal?
Candidates for buccal fat removal are typically mature enough for their facial features to have finished developing from their youth into their adult form. Suitable candidates would have also not yet reached the age at which their buccal fat has decreased too much. You start with a rounder face in your youth, but as you become older, your buccal fat begins to diminish.
Characteristics of a suitable candidate for buccal fat removal include:
- You want to correct the appearance of your plump cheeks
- You are at a stable and healthy weight
- Your buccal fat pads are large enough for this procedure to leave healthy, youthful-looking results
- You have realistic expectations
- You do not smoke
What to consider before buccal fat removal?
If you’ve struggled continuously with your confidence because of your rounded “baby face,” buccal fat removal can be life-changing. When you genetically have larger buccal fat pads, the natural bone structure of your face is hidden even after you’ve fully matured.
This procedure has helped many of Dr. Kaplan’s patients feel more confident, as they previously felt insecure about the plump appearance of their faces and after having buccal fat removal surgery their faces appear slimmer. But what do you need to consider before buccal fat removal?
1. Is your face fully developed?
When you’re young, your face is rounder than it will be when you have finished maturing. Buccal fat diminishes with age, so it’s best to wait until your face has fully developed before undergoing buccal fat removal surgery.
Having the procedure too soon could lead to premature aging as you do not have enough fat in your cheeks to maintain a youthful, volumized contour. On the contrary, if you have reached a certain age where you have very little buccal fat as it has reduced over time, buccal fat removal is likely not the procedure best suited to your goals.
Schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Kaplan to receive a thorough facial assessment and find out how you can reach your goals without speeding up the aging process. Dr. Kaplan will share other options to help you reach your goal of defining your cheekbone placement and other elements of your natural facial contour.
2. Do you have large enough buccal fat pads to need this procedure?
To get ideal results, you need to have enough fat in your buccal fat pads for a surgeon to perform the procedure without removing too much and giving your face a hollowed appearance.
If your buccal fat pads are naturally smaller, getting buccal fat removal may lead to further problems of premature aging, as your midface may appear deflated and not have enough fat to maintain a healthy, volumized appearance. The secret to looking young is maintaining enough volume. If your goals are keeping a youthful appearance rather than having a more chiseled look, buccal fat removal is probably not your best option.
3. Are there alternatives better suited to your goals?
Though buccal fat removal is the most popular option for removing fat from your cheeks, other options are available for altering the rounded shape of your face. Sometimes, excess facial skin can cause people’s faces to appear rounder than they are.
If your cosmetic goal is to remove excess skin, rather than fat, while lifting and tightening the cheeks, you may be a better candidate for a facelift.
If your goal is to improve the definition between your cheekbones and midface and you do not have enough buccal fat, Dr. Kaplan can sculpt your cheekbones using injectable fillers or implants. Or you could also use a filler in your lower face to help define the jawline and chin for a more balanced facial structure. You should also consider what is the buccal fat removal cost and how it is determined in order to be financially prepared if you go for this procedure.
4. Are you consulting with a surgeon who specializes in buccal fat removal?
Though buccal fat removal is relatively simple, you should entrust your surgery with a credible surgeon with years of buccal fat removal experience to ensure it is performed well.
While performing buccal fat removal, surgeons should be meticulous about how much fat they remove to avoid removing too much of your buccal fat pads and giving your face a “deflated” appearance. At your initial consultation, ask your surgeon about their experience with buccal fat removal.
5. Do you have realistic expectations?
The purpose of buccal fat removal is to improve the definition of your facial contour when you naturally have extra fat in your buccal fat pads that make your face look rounded. If you want buccal fat removal because you want your face to look unrealistically slim, you are risking premature aging and other unwanted side effects.
Removing too much fat can damage tissue and other structural elements of your face. A good surgeon with extensive knowledge of buccal lipectomy will know how to remove just the right amount of fat from your buccal fat pads to reduce the plump appearance of your face without making your midface look sunken.
6. Are you prepared to undergo the buccal fat removal recovery period?
Recovery from buccal fat removal is not as painful and lengthy as it may be after other procedures, but since it is surgical, downtime is inevitable. The healing of the impacted tissues lasts about 7-10 days and is key to the recovery process.
To ensure your surgical wounds heal properly and without any complications that may lead to some type of revision procedure, let yourself take it easy during this period. Be patient with your body and its natural healing speed. Avoid strenuous activity, heavy lifting, or cardio until your tissue fully heals. Let yourself heal properly. You will thank yourself in the long run when your newly defined facial contour makes its debut.
Dr. Kaplan will recommend using a special mouth rinse after your buccal fat removal to reduce any risks of infection during your healing. You will use this as often as instructed based on the complexity of your surgery. Dr. Kaplan will advise you to maintain a liquid diet for the first few days after your buccal fat removal procedure. You may slowly ease into soft foods as you feel ready to do so without interrupting healing or experiencing discomfort.
7. Are you healthy enough to undergo surgery?
To undergo any surgical procedure, it is vital that your overall health is up to scratch and you do not have any underlying medical conditions that may increase your risk of complications during the procedure or recovery. Before getting buccal fat removal, check in with your doctor and possibly get a physical to ensure your body is ready to undergo this confidence-boosting procedure.
If you are ready to change toward newfound confidence and get rid of the “baby face” or round appearance your cheeks may be causing, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kaplan to see if you are an ideal candidate for buccal fat removal.