What is Buccal Fat Pad Removal?

Can you tell me about buccal fat pad removal? My cheeks and lower face are too heavy. I am a thin 25 year old - but everyone in my family has this "chubby look" no matter their age.

Doctor Answers 18

Buccal fat pad removal

Buccal fat pad removal is an excellent way of reducing the "chipmunk cheek" appearance that plagues patients. Often, their parents have the same facial configuration even in their 60's and 70's!

Buccal fat pad removal must be weighed against the possibility of hollowness later on, of course. It must also be weighed with consideration of facial harmony as a whole (i.e. the cheekbone to cheek juxtaposition). The patient's age makes a big difference as well. The procedure should not be performed in patients with "baby fat" in their early 20's. only patients with legitimate facial disharmony.

However, if patients have excessively full cheeks in their 30's, and their entire family has the characteristic "chipmunk look", how long do you want to wait for the patient to "burn through" their buccal fat pad and look good? Until they are 85?

A board cerfitied plastic surgeon with a serious interest in cheek anatomy and surgery, who possesses an artistic eye, is your best bet to answer this question.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 177 reviews

Buccal Fat Pad Removal

 Buccal Fat Pad Removal is not for everyone.  However, in the right patient is can be a very effective way to reduce the fullness of the lower face.  Especially, in combination with other procedures, you can achieve dramatic results.  Good luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Young patients & Buccal fat pad excision (removal)

Hi Cupcake26,


Buccal fat removal is a surgical procedure offering quick and gratifying results reducing facial volume especially in the middle third portion of the face.


Therefore, such a procedure covers a wide range of candidates especially patients with round faces and "chipmunk cheeks" where natural aging will have minimal effect shaping them (chipmunk cheeks will not atrophy much with aging).


With that perspective, an extensively experienced surgeon is the most qualified to perform such a complex surgery while preserving the "natural" look  of the patient through conservative buccal fat removal.


Thank you for your question and good luck.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

Cheek augmentation much more common than buccal fat pad removal.


There is a very occasional patient who benefits by removing the buccal fat pad through the mouth.  But we lose fat in the face with age.  So you tend to get better balance with upper cheek augmentation.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Buccal fat removal

The buccal fat is the fat located in the lower part of the cheeks of the face. It is not customary to remove this fat because it will atrophy with time and age. Very few people warrant having buccal fat pad removed. These are removed from the inside of the mouth with a few sutures placed for the closure.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Buccal fat removal is NOT for most patients

It is true that buccal fat excision can help a select group of patients, but not for most. In this procedure, an incision is made inside the mouth and a layer of fat is removed that sits in the cheek, and under the cheek bone. The biggest complications are nerve damage (changing your smile, for example) and uneven contour and dimpling. As you age, you continue to lose fat and this procedure can make you look "too skinny" in the face. Many patients that had this procedure years ago are not happy with their result 15-20 years later.

In a select group of patients, a mild reduction of this fat pad can have dramatic results, but do not look at this as just another quick fix since you could regret your decision in th future. Good luck!

Sirish Maddali, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
2.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

If buccal fat pad removal is the right indication, it can be a great surgery

If you are indicated for that, it can be a great surgery. It is not a good procedure for every one. It can decrease the fullness below the cheek bones.

M. Ryan Khosravi, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

In most cases - don't do buccal fat pad removal


Buccal fat pad removal refers to a procedure that was relatively common in the 1980's and 1990's. The idea was to surgically remove the buccal fat pad (this is a small pad of fat that rests in between the layers of the cheek below the cheekbone). The goal was to create the "heart-shaped" face of youth.

However as time has gone on, this procedure has fallen somewhat out of favor. One reason for this is that many patients were unhappy several years down the line when their faces started to look too thin and gaunt (as is bound to happen with age since we lose volume / fat in our faces).

In addition, many patients experienced uneven results or "divots" from where the fat was removed.

Lastly, a small segment of patients did experience some complications with a branch of the facial nerve that is near the fat pad.

While still a very effective procedure and certainly indicated in some patients, most patients are better off not having buccal fat pad removal done (in my personal opinion).

You are still very young, and as life goes on there will be changes to your face - and in most cases older patients actually need more fat / volume put back into their faces via fat injections.

Thank you,

Dr. Jafri

Kamran Jafri, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Buccal fat pad removal

Buccal fat removal is usually performed intra-orally. The procedure involves placing a small incision on the inside of the cheek. Dissection must be done carefuly in this area as the facial nerve branches and the parotid duct traverse this anatomical area. removal of the fat pad result in slight hollowing in the area of the lower cheek. Hope that helps!

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Fat in the right places

Buccal fat is a fat pad in the face. We have many different conglomerate of fat globues in the face. This pad goes from the buccal area all the way to the temples. It is the buccal (cheek) area that we actually remove.  We do this through an incision in the mouth. I ttakes about an hour. You are awake. There is some post op swelling for a week that is noticable. The true results take a few months to take as the scar tissue sets in.

Often times fat transfer in conjunction with this procedure is able to give a more “ideal” heart shaped face. This can make a big difference in patients as a combo. It may seem counter intuitive to add fat when you say your problem is fat cheeks. What we do is add fat around the cheeks to the side of the highest and most projected point of the cheek bone and taper it to the lower face. This helps to camouflage overly chubby cheeks.  This is especially helpful in thin women and in combination with buccal fat pad removal is a powerful maneuver. All of this can be done in clinic with some calming medications and local anesthesia.

I recommend getting a consult with a surgeon who does this procedure frequently to get a full facial analysis to make sure your specific goals are addressed.

Hope this helps.

Best of luck.


Benjamin Caughlin, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.