Can a partial buccal fat removal be performed? What are the options for getting a thinner more defined face?

I recently got kybella to start on getting a more defined jaw but I still have cheeks. I've heard many doctors often defer patients from getting buccal fat removal because it will cause you to look gaunt as you get older. What options are there for a more defined face? Specifically working on the cheek area?

Doctor Answers 6

Facial contouring

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You would benefit from an in-person consultation with a facial plastic or general plastic surgeon who does a lot of cosmetic facial treatment and contouring.  Besides buccal fat pad excision, other techniques for facial contouring include treatment of an overly active and large masseter muscle, jaw slimming surgery, recontouring of cheek via injectable fillers and/ or facial implants, and fat grafting.  Discuss your concerns and treatment options with a qualified physician during your consultation, and start with this in terms of doing your research.  Good luck!

Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon

Can a partial buccal fat removal be performed? = yes, but is it really necessary to do a "partial" one? #buccalfat #chisealed

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Buccal fat removal can be "technically done partial (removing not the entire buccal fat). However, the total size of the buccal fat is not that "big" therefore, partial removal might give not good results.

The believe that the buccal fat gives a "older look" is because the face of the patient is not analyzed. When evaluating a patient for potential buccal fat removal the structure of the mid face (cheek bones) has to be analyzed. If the patient has poor cheek bone structure, then the face will sag after a buccal fat removal and therefore will look older. In my practice, about 50% of the patients undergoing buccal fat removal requires cheek augmentation  with fillers like voluma This prevents to have an "aged look" but most importantly significantly improves the chiseled facial appearance. 

John Mesa, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

Looking for thinner, more defined face

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Thank you for asking about your buccal fat removal.

  • An examination is needed to see if you have excess buccal fat that should be removed.
  • There is extensive fat throughout the cheeks - 
  • With buccal fat resection, it is best to only removed the excess 
  • At the time of surgery, the improvement can be seen when the buccal fat is removed - 
  • Do avoid over-reduction, I do not remove more. 

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Buccal Fat Removal

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Liposuction is not an option for that area. Buccal fat removal is quite successful for reshaping the face. Please seen a specialized and experienced facial plastic surgeon for an inpatient exam to determine if you are an appropriate candidate. Computer imaging can help you visualize your anticipated results. Also reviewing previous patient's before and after photos is essential to the decision making process.

Edward J. Gross, MD
Orlando Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Buccal Fat Pat removal

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This is a thoughtful question. The goal should always be a more youthful look with a non-operated appearance. So you are correct in suggesting that a "partial" buccal fat pad removal can be performed. The buccal fat pad is actually rather large. It even continues up into the temple area in most people. So typically we do remove only a portion of the fat pad. The amount is tailored to each patient. An option to emphasize this change is to undergo auto-fat transfer to the face at the same time. This then allows us to agument the upper 2/3rds of the face while narrowing the lower 1/3rd to give a more heart shaped face in place of the aged egg shaped look. Hallowed temples is something that responds very well to fat transfer and I think is a great adjunct to buccal fat pad removal. 



Benjamin Caughlin, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Buccal fat pad removal

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GREAT question.  To be honest, it is one of the problems and stigmas often associated with buccal fat pad surgery.  Take too much - makes the face gaunt and drawn in the long term.  Take too little, not much of a difference in regards to facial contour and structure.  There is a sweet spot, and it's different for each and every patient.  Physical exam is crucial in determining whether or not you are a good candidate for this kind of procedure.  During consultation your physician should be able to isolate whether buccal fat vs. cheek and jawline augmentation with filler/etc is what would benefit you the most.  I hope that this helps! Best of luck.  

Miguel Mascaro, MD
Delray Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 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.