Buccal fat removal is becoming more and more popular with everyone wanting a contoured or sculpted face. Some models are also known to suck in cheeks in some photo shoots. However, there is a more convenient option now thanks to buccal fat surgery. 

Celebrities like Lea Michele and Chrissy Teigen are getting praise for their sky-high cheekbones after undergoing buccal fat removal. Those who have chubby cheeks and are interested in enhancing their facial contour can consider the procedure. To help you decide on whether you should get a buccal fat removal or not, we will talk about the pros and cons of undergoing the procedure. 

What Is Buccal Fat Removal?

Buccal fat removal, also known as cheek reduction surgery, is a plastic surgery procedure that involves removing the buccal fat pads from the cheeks. These fat pads are located in the middle of the cheek, and their size can significantly influence the overall roundness of the face. By removing the buccal fat, a facial plastic surgeon can create a more sculpted and contoured facial profile. The results show more prominent cheekbones and slimmer cheeks.

Pros and Cons of Buccal Fat Removal


Lower cheek volume

Some people do not lose weight in the cheeks even after heavy exercise or a proper diet. If this is your situation, you can consider getting a buccal fat reduction or removal.

Higher definition of cheekbones

High cheekbones are a preference for some people, but they are part of a person’s genetics. By reducing or removing buccal fat, it is now possible to make the cheekbones look higher.

Narrower facial contour 

Others are not comfortable with a round face shape. The face shape can be enhanced and narrowed through buccal fat removal.

Balance in facial proportions

Our facial features follow certain proportions that make us look our best. If you feel that your face will look more balanced with thinner cheeks, then a buccal fat reduction or removal is a good option for you.

Quick procedure

Undergoing a buccal fat procedure takes around 45 minutes up to an hour, depending on your appearance goals. 

Incisions are made inside the mouth

There is no need to worry about visible surgical scars in a buccal fat removal procedure. The incisions are created inside the mouth.

Permanent results

The results of buccal fat removal are permanent. Patients must avoid gaining weight to avoid reversing the benefits of the procedure. 

Minimal downtime

Buccal fat removal downtime is only three to four days. You can resume work after the initial downtime post-procedure. However, strenuous activities or heavy exercise will only be allowed after six weeks to achieve the best results.


Swelling and bruising 

Swelling and bruising are normal after a buccal fat removal procedure. This will last for up to two weeks.

Full results are visible after three months

Once the swelling and bruising subside, patients will be able to see the contours created after buccal fat removal.

Risk of hollowed cheeks as you age

Our buccal fat naturally and slowly decreases from ages 20 to 50. This risk is unlikely to happen at the hands of a skilled plastic surgeon.

Risk of cheek asymmetry

The volume of buccal fat pads is not symmetrical. With the right plastic surgeon, your buccal fat pads can be properly assessed and reduced with precision.

Risk of salivary duct damage or facial nerve damage

The risk of salivary duct damage or facial nerve damage is low for a buccal fat removal procedure. Board-certified plastic surgeons are highly skilled and trained to prevent complications after the procedure.

Candidates for Buccal Fat Removal

Buccal fat removal is a specialized procedure that can beautifully enhance facial contours for the right candidate. Ideal candidates are individuals in good health, non-smokers, and those with realistic expectations about the outcomes of the surgery. Typically, a good candidate for buccal fat removal is someone looking to reduce the volume in their cheeks because of prominent buccal fat pads, not due to excess skin or fat in other facial areas.

The results of buccal fat removal will also progress after the procedure. If your face is naturally thin, it is highly recommended that you consult with a plastic surgeon to determine your eligibility.

Consultation and Choosing a Surgeon

Initial Consultation

The first step in preparing for buccal fat removal is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified facial plastic surgeon. During the consultation, you will be asked about your aesthetic goals. Be ready to discuss your complete medical history as well. This is also the best time to ask any questions you have about the procedure.

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

Ensure your surgeon has extensive experience with buccal fat removal and can provide before-and-after photos of their previous patients.

Medical Evaluations and Lab Tests

Your surgeon may require a comprehensive medical evaluation to ensure you’re a good candidate for buccal fat removal. This could include blood tests and other diagnostic tests to assess your overall health.

You should also inform your surgeon about any medications, supplements, or vitamins you’re taking, as some may need to be temporarily discontinued before surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding.

Lifestyle Adjustments

If you smoke, you will be advised to stop at least three to four weeks before and after surgery to promote better healing. Similarly, avoid alcohol consumption for at least a week before your procedure.

Proper nutrition can also aid in recovery. Some surgeons may recommend avoiding certain foods or supplements that could increase bleeding. A week before the procedure, do not take NSAIDs, blood thinners, or herbal supplements to prevent excessive bruising.

Preparing Your Home

Set up a comfortable recovery area in your home with essential items like pillows, blankets, ice packs, and entertainment within easy reach.

It is highly recommended to also stock up on soft foods and hydration options, as you might experience some discomfort in your mouth and cheeks after surgery. Prepare meals in advance to avoid the need for extensive cooking post-surgery.

Arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure, and consider having someone stay with you for the first 24-48 hours to assist with your immediate recovery needs.

Day Before Surgery

Review the pre-operative instructions provided by your surgeon. These may include guidelines on fasting, medications, and what to wear on the day of your surgery.

You may be asked to wash your face and mouth with a special antibacterial soap to reduce the risk of infection.

Mental Preparation

Have a clear understanding of what buccal fat removal can and cannot do for your appearance. Realistic expectations are key to satisfaction with the results.

Consider discussing your procedure with friends or family members who can offer emotional support both before and after your surgery.

By thoroughly preparing for buccal fat removal, you can help ensure a successful surgery and a smooth, comfortable recovery. Always follow the specific instructions provided by your surgeon, as individual recommendations can vary based on your unique health profile and the specifics of the procedure.

Schedule Your Consultation

Want a sculpted jawline? Dr. Pakeman can assess your face and see if buccal fat removal is right for you. Schedule a consultation to discuss your goals and get all your questions answered!