Cheek Fat Removal or Jaw Implants?

I have chubby cheeks and for a while I have considered buccal fat removal. However, I feel that part of the reason my cheeks look chubby is because I have a rather short mandible. In other words, when my mouth is open my cheeks don't look so big, but when it is closed they do. So would I be better off getting jaw implants to "stretch" my face a bit, or should I get the fat removal? I am somewhat reserved about the latter because I'm only 26 and don't want to end up looking gaunt when I am older.

Doctor Answers 10

Jaw implants can fill up your face and decrease the chubby cheeks look

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But everybody is different and has different anatomy. Cheek implants can also help this issue as well to fill up your face.  Chin implants can also fill out the lower third of your face and help achieve this as well.

Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

NATURAL look is the GOAL whether through Jaw/Cheek Implants or Cheek Fat Removal

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I would like to commend you for a well written question.

Buccal fat removal, mandibular, cheek and chin implants could all contribute to bring out facial features and help tone down chubby faces, especially the round ones. Without photographs and examination, it is hard to give a definitive answer to your question.

Nonetheless, mandibular (jaw) implants will widen the lower 1/3 of the face adding volume and definition to the lateral angle of the mandible.
Buccal (cheek) fat removal and implants will help achieve the Ogee curve and sculpt the middle 1/3 of the face.

Therefore, choosing an extensively experienced surgeon is very important to bring out the naturally hidden aesthetic beauty every patient has. Consultation and examination are of the essence to discuss simple procedures, often not thought of by the candidate.

Thank you for your question.

Best of Luck.

Dr. Sajjadian

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

Proportion RULES

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When talking about the face many people focus on the feature they don't like.

Be sure to sit with a plastic surgeon who will put the whole thing in perspective, including analyzing your face according to upper, middle and lower thirds, as well as their relationships.

Depending on your goal, the surgical options may not be obvious to you, and sometimes the answer can be unexpectedly simple, or involved.

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

Buccal fat pad removal versus jaw implants

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You bring up a very good question, and you should really have an xray done of your cheek bones first to determine the size and relationship of all of you facial bones. Then, discuss with your plastic surgeon what your goals are. These are two very different operations with different outcomes, so be careful in deciding what to do. You're right, you also may have a gaunt look when you're older if you get your buccal fat pads removed. This is a question better answered in person after a thorough physical exam and after looking at your facial bones xray.

Buccal fat pad removal to correct chubby cheeks can produce nice results

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You are very astute in your evaluation of your face. A short mandible does accentuate cheek fullness or chubby cheeks.

A picture would help me evaluate your condition more accurately. However, I have treated several young women with complaints similar to yours.

If your chin is also recessive (weak chin) as I susoect it is, a mandibular advancement rather than mandibular implants is more likely the correct procedure.

It is common to do a buccal fat pad resection in combination with the mandibular advancement to correct the short face and chubby cheek appearance.

The most important thing for you to do is to find an expert board certified plastic surgeon who specializes or is experienced in oral maxillofacial surgey.

It would be ideal if you can find a board certified plastic surgeon who has also trained in oral surgery prior to plastic surgery training.

Facial fat removal vs. mandibular implant.

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The description of your condition is excellent. Without seeing you though, it's tough to recommend what's best. Do you have a round, Asian face? If so, BOTOX to the masseter muscles may be helpful.

I do share your concern about fat removal, and the aging process. So in general, I've never been a big fan of buccal fat removal.

You should consult several board certified facial plastic surgeons to discuss your concerns in person. Or post a picture for us to see.

I hope this helps, and best regards.

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 435 reviews

Mandibular implants versus buccal fat pad excision

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This is a very good question. It really depends upon your anatomy. Yes, buccal fat pad excision can thin out a very full face if the buccal fat pad is the problem. However, if the mandible is narrow and you want it a bit wider, sometimes mandibular implants can be added to widen the jaw.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Get a consultation so that you better understand your needs

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Dear Cwsf

Your aesthetic concerns seem very theoretical. I am wondering if you have had a consultation with a facial plastic surgeon or a general plastic surgeon who focuses on facial issues? Also it would be helpful to have your photographs.

It is very important for you to understand the consequences of your choices given your age. You will find someone to operate on you. That is the way the world works. The risk is that you elect to do something and are very disappointed with the results.

Ethical surgeons will assess your physical concerns as well as your motivations in discussing your options and best interests. You are looking for the best outcome that satisfied your needs. You have to better understand what bothers you, what the options are to addressing these concerns, and their downside risks compared to doing nothing.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

You might benefit by mandibular implants.

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Hard to tell without examining you, but from your description, giving you a stronger jaw line may be what you need. In New York, we usually do this with an anatomical chin implant and with mandibular implants. Jaw advancement (fracturing the jaw), is more radical and seldom indicated.

You can always have your buccal fat pads trimmed later. This is a minor procedure.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Jaw surgery versus buccal fat extraction

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Your concern about looking gaunt is a valid one. We generally lose facial fat as we age and so it is a possibility that buccal fat extraction could accentuate this appearance, However, in some instances this can be an excellent option.

The choice of jaw surgery or implants depends heavily on your dental occlusion. IT may be prudent for you to first be evaluated by your dentist for a malocclusion.

Once this has been determined, the choice of oral surgery versus implants will be easier.

In some instances, both buccal fat extraction and jaw surgery may be necessary to produce the desired appearance.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.