Plastic surgeons are often asked if anything can be done to reduce chubby or “chipmunk cheeks. ” The answer is yes, but there are several things to consider.
In the area below the cheekbone lies the buccal fat pad. The size of this pad varies according to factors like heredity and ethnicity. Some people have a larger pad than others, making their cheeks and face appear rounder. Many times, weight loss doesn’t affect the size of the buccal fat pad. Even thin people can have large cheeks.
There is nothing wrong with having fuller cheeks, and that fullness depletes as we age. However, if you are bothered by your full cheeks, a plastic surgeon can help.
What is Buccal Fat Pad Removal?
Buccal fat removal is also known as cheek reduction surgery or buccal lipectomy. During this surgery, the buccal fat pads are removed, thinning the cheeks and defining the cheekbones.
Keep in mind that buccal fat removal isn’t for everyone. Full cheeks are associated with youth. The buccal fat pad naturally diminishes with age. If you have a narrow face or your face is naturally thin, a procedure like this may cause sunken cheeks in the future. If you’re older, the procedure might emphasize jowls and other signs of facial aging. A plastic surgeon can help you determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure.
Fat Buccal Pad Removal Surgery
The procedure is usually done in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia and oral sedation. You will be awake, but you won’t feel any pain. Your surgeon will make an incision on the inside of your cheek. They will then place pressure on the outside of your cheek to push the buccal fat pad towards the inside of the cheek. Your surgeon will then cut and remove the fat pads. Next, the wound will be closed with dissolvable stitches.
After the procedure, you’ll be given a special mouthwash to prevent infection and instructions on how to care for your incision. For several days following the procedure, you’ll need to eat a liquid diet, followed by soft foods for a few days.
After the surgery, your face will be bruised and swollen for the first week but will diminish over the following weeks. Full recovery takes about 3 weeks. The final result is visible in about 6-8 weeks.
At Gulf Coast Plastic Surgery, Dr. Nathan Patterson performs this surgery. If you’re unhappy with the shape of your face or the fullness of your cheeks, schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Patterson. He can help you determine if buccal fat pad removal is right for you.