Skip to content
Home » Blog » Does Buccal Fat Removal Age You?

Does Buccal Fat Removal Age You?

    No matter how slim, fit, and healthy someone’s body may be, they cannot slim down the size of their buccal fat pads with diet and exercise. Buccal fat removal, known medically as a buccal lipectomy, is a procedure that focuses on thinning the cheek area that hollows. Some patients who find that their cheeks are too plump are hesitant to get buccal fat removal because filled-out faces are often associated with youthfulness.


    Patients often ask Dr. Kaplan, “Once the extra fat in my cheeks is removed, will it make me look older?” If you find an experienced plastic surgeon to do the procedure, they will focus on contouring your face to beautify it rather than taking the youthful appearance out of it. Having less cheek fat makes you appear more mature, but if you’re an ideal candidate for the procedure and find a plastic surgeon who will correctly assess the right amount of fat to remove, your results should still appear youthful.

    We often associate hollowed-out faces with old age, but there’s a difference between removing just enough fat to chisel and thin out the cheeks and removing too much, taking the youth out of them. When Dr. Kaplan removes excess fat from patients’ cheeks, many appreciate the high, prominent appearance of their cheekbones that the procedure revealed. The result of buccal fat removal depends on whether a patient is a good candidate for the surgery.


    We all have different sizes of buccal fat pads, described as the fat between your cheekbones and jaw bones. Buccal fat pad extraction surgery is a great procedure for patients with larger fat pads, as it can help their face look thinner, healthier, and more attractive. Buccal fat removal is not for patients with a thin face, as removing the small amount of fat they have could give them a more aged appearance. Both men and women can benefit from the procedure. Men may want to pair cheek reduction with cheek or jaw implants to enhance their masculine appearance.

    You may be a good candidate for buccal fat removal if:

    • You want to correct the appearance of your plump cheeks
    • You are at a stable and healthy weight
    • You have realistic expectations
    • You do not smoke

    If Dr. Kaplan analyzes your face and assesses that you aren’t a good candidate for buccal fat removal because it would make your face appear sunken, he will discuss other treatment options that may help you reach your goals. He determines this by looking at the size of your buccal fat pads and seeing if they have enough cushion to remove part of it without making your face appear overly hollow.


    Although immediately following buccal fat removal, your cheeks will appear swollen, but will gradually contour to their new shape within a few months. If you use a surgeon experienced in removing buccal fat and are meticulous about how much fat to remove, your results should be just as you imagined. Dr. Kaplan will discuss your concerns and goals at your consultation to give you the results possible. When done correctly, cheek reduction should slim your face enough to reveal the cheekbone placement and jawline, but not that slim to make you appear older.
    Over time, if you believe your face appears overly gaunt following cheek reduction surgery, dermal fillers can help fill in the hollow areas of your cheek. If you go to a knowledgeable surgeon like Dr. Kaplan, you won’t go home with so much fat removed that it takes the youth out of your face.


    Buccal fat removal incisions are similar to a closed approach rhinoplasty (made inside the nose.) Buccal fat pad removal leaves no visible scars as all incisions are inside the mouth. During the quick procedure, Dr. Kaplan makes an incision on the inside of your mouth to remove excess fat.


    On average, it takes the tissues in the mouth about 7-10 days to heal following buccal fat removal. You should avoid strenuous activity such as heavy lifting or running for the first 3-7 days after surgery. Dr. Kaplan will recommend a specific mouth rinse for you to use to reduce the risk of infection during healing, and use will vary depending on the complexity of your buccal lipectomy procedure. You should maintain a soft or liquid diet for a few days after your buccal fat removal surgery.


    It’s normal to experience swelling within the first week or two after surgery, but it will dissipate on its own and reveal your new, slender facial contour before you know it. Initial results should show around three weeks after surgery, but the final result may take months as it takes time for your skin to settle into your cheek hollows.


    Beyond the fact that the procedure leaves no visible scars and requires minimal downtime, other benefits of buccal fat removal include:

    • Removal of excess fat in the cheeks
    • A slimmer appearance to the face
    • A boost in confidence
    • Enhanced appearance of cheekbone placement
    • A more balanced facial contour
    • Results are permanent, even if your weight fluctuates
    • Can help reduce the appearance of jowling


    With a 91% worth it rating from patients on RealSelf, it appears that buccal fat removal gives most patients their desired results. One patient mentioned no longer needing to consciously suck in her cheeks like she often did before her procedure. If sucking your cheeks in is something you find yourself doing in photos, Zoom meetings, or wherever your face may be overly exposed, buccal fat removal may be the life-changing procedure for you.

    If you want to meet with Dr. Kaplan to see if you are a candidate for buccal fat removal, schedule a consultation.