Although some fullness in the cheeks can have a desirable youthful effect, too much fullness can create a less appealing ‘chubby-cheeked’ look which can cause many people to feel self-conscious. The fullness of the lower cheeks is caused by a distinct depot of fat inside the buccal fat pad. Buccal fat is resistant to exercise or diet, resulting in round, or square-shaped facial contours that are often perceived as undesirable by many adult men and women. Even though buccal fat removal is a relatively small procedure, it is a very effective way to achieve a chiselled and slender look which can lead to a significant improvement of confidence and self-esteem.
What is the goal of buccal fat removal surgery?
The goal of buccal fat removal is to reduce the fat volume in your cheeks, specifically in the lower part of your face where the cheek hollows.
What are the benefits of buccal fat removal surgery?
Buccal fat removal is a safe and effective procedure, that accentuates the contours of your cheekbones by selectively reducing the fat volume in the hollow part of your cheek. In men the reduction of facial plumpness results in a more chiselled jawline and cheeks. Women appreciate the more delicately sculpted slender facial contour. Buccal fat removal is done as a day case procedure through an incision in the mouth which means minimal downtime and no visible scars.
Before your procedure
Everybody’s anatomy is unique and requires an individualised approach. The size of buccal fat pads vary in each individual patient. It is also important to note that the size of the buccal fat pads can vary on each side of the cheeks, even in the same patient. This is something that will be taken into consideration should it be applicable.
During your consultation we will review your medical history, assess your area of concern and what you would like to achieve. In order to assess if you are an ideal candidate for buccal fat removal, Mr. Bran will examine the anatomy of your cheeks. Apart from a physical examination in order to analyse your cheeks, we put great emphasis on understanding how you feel about your face and what kind of an improvement you are most comfortable with. Appreciating your personal aesthetics and managing your expectations is key to any surgical planning by Mr. Bran. Based on the clinical findings and your personal motivation he will then be able to elaborate realistic goals. During your consultation photograph will be taken for your medical record.
You will also have a discussion about how the procedure is performed, possible risks of surgery, what to expect during recovery period as well as answer any other questions you may have. Depending on your age and health we might require additional tests prior to surgery.
Preparing for your buccal fat removal surgery
Preoperative assessment is critical in order to select appropriate patients for buccal fat removal surgery. Apart from a physical examination you will have a discussion about your current and past medical history, and any medication you are currently taking or have recently taken. You will be asked about allergies, particularly drug allergies. If required, an anesthetist will see you before your surgery. Depending on your medication, you may be asked to stop or change certain drugs for a duration of time.
You should refrain from taking Aspirin, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen in the week before your surgery.
In order to optimize your healing, we strongly advise all our patients to stop smoking at a minimum of 2 weeks prior to your surgery and refrain from cigarettes or any other nicotine containing products for 2 weeks after their procedure. Smoking significantly impairs your post-operative recovery and doubles the risk of complications such as delayed wound healing, poor scars or altered results.
RISKS BUCCAL FAT REMOVAL
In accordance with the Montgomery judgement, the following risks and side-effects are associated with buccal fat removal surgery:
|PAIN||Moderate discomfort is expected; suitable pain medication will be provided.|
|BRUISING||Uncommon, may last for 2-3 weeks. Avoid Aspirin / Ibuprofen.|
|SWELLING||Swelling will occur. It can take 3-4 weeks to fully resolve.|
|BLEEDING||Rare. Haematoma formation (blood collection – risk is less than 0.1%) may require drainage or return to surgery.|
|INFECTION||Occasionally, mild infection. Rarely serious infection. If required, appropriate antibiotics will be prescribed.|
|SCARRING||With any incision there is a risk of delayed healing and poor scarring. The risk for visible scars is uncommon as intraoral incisions heal with very little scarring.|
|Some diminished sensation is expected around the scar. It can take 4-6 weeks to return to normal.|
|FIRMNESS||Initially cheeks are swollen and firm. Uncommonly the firmness persists or recurs some months post-operatively. This may alter softness and cause discomfort.|
|ASYMMETRY||Uncommon, any pre-operative asymmetry will be pointed out and the operation will aim to improve this.|
|DEEP VEIN |
|This is a clot that forms in the deep veins of the lower limbs causing pain, inflammation, and swelling. This will require immediate medical attention.|
|This is a clot which has travelled to the lungs causing chest pain and shortness of breath. This will require immediate medical attention.|
You may consider yourself a good candidate when you:
- You have realistic expectations
- You are physically healthy and at a stable body weight
- You are a non-smoker
- You are bothered by the appearance of chubby cheeks or a “baby face appearance”
- unrealistic expectations
- your body weight is not stable
Buccal fat removal surgery is performed under local anaesthetic through a small incision (approximately 15 mm) placed inside your mouth, on the inner portion of your cheek. The procedure is generally performed under local anaesthetic as a day case in our practice.
Usually buccal fat removal surgery takes less than 1 hour to perform, however if you have additional procedures, operating time will increase accordingly.
Volume reduction within the buccal fat pad lasts a life time. Although the ageing process will unfortunately still have its effect on the appearance of your face in various ways, the contours of the cheek hollows will not increase in volume again should you maintain a stable weight.
Minimal discomfort is expected. This includes swelling of the operated area. Bruising is uncommon. You will be given adequate pain medication to keep your discomfort at a minimum.
We advise our patients to plan enough time for their recovery. In the first week you should expect swelling around your cheeks. In order to keep discomfort at a minimum, we advise our patients to consume a liquid-only diet for a day or two after surgery. Mouth care is also important to ensure healthy healing of the incision. You will be advised to use an alcohol-free mouthwash to help reduce the risk of infection. Patients can go back to their daily activities within 5-7 days after surgery. Discomfort is usually minimal and easily controlled with adequate pain medication. We advise our patients to avoid strenuous exercise, avoid bending over and to sleep in an elevated position of the upper body in order to control post-operative swelling and protect your healing incisions.
You will be able to appreciate the new contours of your cheeks immediately after your buccal fat removal procedure. During the first 24 hours after your surgery some swelling will appear which will obscure the result for the first days. Results are considered final after approximately 2-3 weeks, when residual swelling has subsided.
Incisions are placed inside your mouth, so there are no external scars to be seen. Oral mucosa heals with very limited scar formation. As the scar inside your mouth continues to mature it will become barely noticeable.
What can complement buccal fat removal surgery?
In order to find out more you should book a confidential consultation with Mr. Bran. As an expert in facial plastic surgery, he will be able to answer all of your questions and explain the details of your tailored procedure.