Am I the Right Candidate for Buccal Fat Pad Removal Considering Asian Genetics?

I inherited my mother's genes (a dominant gene by observing her generation of seven siblings, who all evidently have enormous cheeks and higher than average cheekbones) of fat cheeks and high cheekbones. My father has a slim face and relatively non-observant cheekbones that my two other sisters inherited from him. I starved myself as a teen just to have a slim face, but as I gain the relative weight, I am more depressed as an adult with this face. I heard that these cheeks are good for aging.

Doctor Answers 7

Buccal fat removal.

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You look lovely with full cheeks and will age better than your sisters with thinner cheeks. No surgery will make you look cuter than you already are.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Better photos are needed

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To analyze your face a view of your cheekbones and jawline is necessary. In Asians it's not always just the buccal fat - frequently the cheekbones and/or jawline need to be reduced. Buccal fat in Asians tend to persist much longer and in many cases do benefit from conservative removal, especially if overly full beyond the mid-30's to 40's.

Charles S. Lee, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Buccal Fat Pad Removal in Asian Patients

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Buccal fat pad removal can be performed in any patient and noting your genetic disposition to aging is a good start.  The key is a proper in office history and physical examination by an experienced surgeon to help determine if buccal fat removal is a good procedure for you.

Patients must be selected properly for buccal fat pad removal, as chosing an inappropriate candidate can lead to a premature gaunt look in the face.

Critera to see if candidate for buccal fat pad removal:

1.  Family history of "full" faces-  Families with full faces who age with full faces are likely to benefit from buccal fat removal.  Families whose fuller faces eventually turn gaunt should avoid this procedure
2.  Buccal fat excess-  There are multiple fat pads in the face.  The key is to determine if buccal fat pad removal is beneficial

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Buccal fat pad reduction?

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Buccal fat pad reduction is a procedure that is not commonly performed but can make sense in the right patient.  It is important to understand the anatomy before undergoing the surgery so that you are well informed.  Normal aging reduces the buccal fat pad volume.  It is true that some people have more volume in their cheeks than others.  However, it is also universally true that that volume will decrease and descend over time.  Removing too much buccal fat can cause premature aging.  It is also important to remember that replacing fat that has been removed is extraordinarily difficult if not impossible.  The main reason is the location of the buccal fat pad.  It usually resides underneath a large muscle that is responsible for majority of the power motions of your chewing.  Once that fat is removed that space collapses.  Once collapsed it is very difficult to find the exact space and to reinsert a substance such as a filler or better yet fat.  One potential solution is to use something like Sculptra.  While I generally do not advocate buccal fat pad removal, I understand why somewhat would want procedures such as this.  I tried to choose my patients very carefully and I also tried to be conservative in the amount of fat that is removed.  Surgeons who trivialized this procedure simply don’t understand how difficult it is to correct deformities that may occur.  The cost of the procedure can run anywhere from $3000-$7000, depending upon your geographic locale.  Please visit with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon.  My best advice is to always be conservative with any buccal fat pad reduction.

Buccal Fat Pad and Asian Genetics

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Dear Cypresshill,


Buccal fat pads will atrophy with aging and so if a patient has enough volume then aging will not be able to create a striking hollow face.


Buccal fat pad removal is a precise procedure of a delicate nature. Unfortunately, without physical examination, it is hard to give a definitive advise about your case.


Nonetheless, I encourage you to seek a consultation with a surgeon of ample experience so you will come up with an informed decision.


Facial contouring could be addressed through several ways but the key is to preserve the natural looks of the patient while enhancing their facial features.


Thank you for your inquiry and for sharing you photograph.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 205 reviews

Buccal fat pad removal is discouraged in young patients

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As we age the amount of fat in our face decreases causing a loss of volume and fullness. Buccal fat pad removal will only accelerate the aging process, which is why we do not recommend the procedure. Look at your grandparents and see how they become hollow in the buccal fat pad space over time. Chubby cheeks are a sign of youthfulness and it is in your best interest to leave them alone.  

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Buccal fat pad reduction explained

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Thanks for your question. I find buccal fat pad reduction to be a great procedure in the properly selected patient. Fullness in the lower cheeks or "chipmunk cheeks" can be treated this way to give a more defined lower face. Liposuction or skin tightening technologies will not be the right choice when buccal fullness is apparent. The buccal fat pad sits deeper in the lower cheek area under muscle. This is different from skin fat that can be liposuctioned or laser lipo'd. Proper diagnosis is important to understand how to treat. Also, this fat pad may get smaller when we are elderly possibly giving a hollow look in this area. Performed properly in the right patient buccal fat reduction is easily performed and gives a slimmer lower face that is difficult to achieve otherwise.

I have many happy patients with this procedure. Careful selection and counseling are key. Results evolve nicely over a period of weeks to months. This is a safe procedure and can be performed under local anesthesia. Recovery is minimal. Please talk to a board certified surgeon experienced in buccal fat reduction to see if you are a candidate

Raymond E. Lee, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 101 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.