Removing Fat From Cheeks

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Do you feel you have chubby, fat or "chipmunk" cheeks? If you do there is a plastic surgery procedure called the Buccal Fat Pad Resection which can be done to thin your face.This operation is a brief procedure with minimal recovery but must be done by an experienced expert who knows how to do the procedure safely. As with any surgical procedures there are risks if the operation is not done carefully and expertly.

What is the Buccal Fat Pad and how does it make your face look full?

The Buccal Pad is a pocket of fat in your cheek below the cheek bone which gives your face fullness. This is not the Malar Fat Pad which is higher in the face and gives the nice Apple Cheek of youth. The Malar Pad is an important youthful characteristic of your face and should never be removed. The Malar Pad loses volume as we age and is lifted or filled to make the face look younger after our face has aged.

The Buccal Pad lies lower in the face at about the level of the corners of your mouth. If you suck your cheeks in the hollow you see is where the Buccal Fat Pad rests. This is the area where one can remove fat from the cheeks. This is also the structure that creates a full face look.

How is the Operation Done?

The procedure is done through a tiny incision on the inside of the mouth. The surgeon locates the Buccal Pad on the inside of the mouth, makes a small incision, and gently teases the cheek fat out and removes it. The procedure is done on the inside of the mouth for several reasons:

  • Avoid a visible skin incision.
  • Avoid injuring the Facial Nerve which lies outside the pad under the skin
  • Avoid injuring the Parotid Salivary Duct (carries Saliva) which also lies outside the pad under the skin

What are the risks?

Any surgery carries some risk. This operation is safe but must be done by an expert. The major risk is an injury to the Facial Nerve or the Parotid Duct. The surgeon must know how to avoid these risks. It involves knowing exactly where to make the incision and carefully teasing the pad out so that the nerves and duct are not attached and pulled out with the pad.

An experienced surgeon should be able to do this safely.

Should you have this procedure?

This is a question you will have to answer yourself and with the advice of a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who is experienced at this operation. If you really feel you have fat or "chipmunk" cheeks, that is fullness in the lower face at the level of the corners of your mouth then it is possible to thin them. One good test is to suck your cheeks in. If you like that look then the procedure may help you.

However think about the following:

  • Are you overweight-if yes, losing weight will improve your look without surgery.
  • If you lose weight after the procedure will your face look too gaunt?
  • Will your face look gaunt after you age? Our faces loses fullness as we age and if you are a thin person will your face look to gaunt when you are older.

Find an expert

If you are considering this procedure consult a Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. It is your face, you want an expert.

Article by
Boston Plastic Surgeon