Celebrity Buccal Fat Removal: What Is It & Why Is It Trending?

A beautiful middle-aged woman peaking out from under a blanket grinning (model)

If you’ve browsed social media recently, you may have noticed a new cosmetic procedure making the rounds—celebrity buccal fat removal. Many celebrities seem to be jumping on the bandwagon; Chrissy Teigen has said she had the procedure, and many people speculate that Lea Michele, Khloe Kardashian, and other younger stars have followed suit. This is not entirely surprising as prominent and sculpted cheekbones have always been in style.

Buccal fat removal may look great on a young starlet, but can you enjoy the same results? Will there be repercussions as you age? Let’s dive into what you can expect from buccal fat removal, now and down the road.

What Can Buccal Fat Removal Do for You?

If you have excess fat below your cheekbones that gives you a round, baby face no matter how thin you are, buccal fat removal may be an option. Some people have a slender frame with a face that is overly wide or square and doesn’t fit in with the rest of their frame. Often this excess buccal fat is due to genetics. Buccal fat removal is not about eliminating all traces of facial fat. Instead, it’s about contouring and reshaping your face.

before and after image of buccal fat removal on a woman (model)

What Is the Buccal Fat Removal Process?

The procedure is performed using a local anesthetic, intravenous sedation, or a general anesthetic, depending on your individual needs. Your plastic surgeon makes an incision on the inside of your cheek to remove the fat pad and then closes the incision. You can combine the procedure with a nose job or chin implant surgery to further contour your face.

The procedure does not leave a visible scar since the incision is made inside the mouth. A benefit of this procedure is that once the fat pad is removed, it’s permanently eliminated. This fact can also be a detriment as the permanent nature of buccal fat removal can, years later, cause the face to look gaunt.

Recovery Process After Buccal Fat Removal

You will see some swelling around the surgery site, which may last several days to a few weeks. For the first couple of days after surgery, you’ll be on a liquid diet. You can progress to soft foods with your surgeon’s approval. Your plastic surgeon will advise you on how to care for your incisions and what medications you can take to reduce the risk of infection. You should be ready to resume work and other regular activities after 2 to 3 days, although it will take a few weeks for the swelling to abate.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Buccal Fat Removal?

Buccal fat removal is not a clear-cut procedure in that you may have some regrets in the future. That’s why it’s important to identify the advantages and disadvantages of the surgery and what you hope to achieve. Consider the following to see if you are a good candidate for buccal fat removal.

You Want Subtle Contouring

If you want to make subtle changes to contour your face and emphasize your cheekbones, you may be a good candidate for this procedure. Most men and women who choose the surgery want a more elegant profile and to have their faces match the rest of their frames.

Woman looking at her reflection in the mirror and touching her face (model)

You Are Not Significantly Overweight

To be a good candidate for this procedure, you should not have a significant amount of fat on your face. The extra weight may obscure your results, and those with high BMIs generally have higher risk factors for surgical complications.

You Are In Your 30s and 40s

Individuals in their very early 20s are not good candidates for this procedure as buccal fat continues to grow until about age 20. Then the face begins to slowly lose fatty tissue as you age. If you remove facial fat when you are too young, you run the risk of looking emaciated by the time you get to your 30s and 40s

You Have Realistic Expectations

This guideline applies to all cosmetic procedures but especially to buccal fat removal. With all the hype around this trend and photos of celebrities flooding the internet, you may develop unrealistic expectations.

Buccal fat removal is not a weight loss treatment, and it will not drastically change your face. However, this procedure can slim your face and make your cheekbones look sharper. If this is incentive enough to pursue buccal fat removal, talk to a plastic surgeon about your options.

Questions You Should Ask Your Plastic Surgeon When Considering Buccal Fat Removal

Make sure you research all aspects of the surgery and your plastic surgeon’s credentials. Here are some questions to ask your surgeon:

  • Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
  • How often do you perform buccal fat removal surgery?
  • Am I a good candidate for the surgery?
  • Is the surgery center accredited by the AAAASF?
  • What’s your complication rate for the procedure?
  • Can I see before and after pictures of your buccal fat removal patients?

Choosing an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon for your procedure is important, reducing your risk of complications and paving the way for excellent results. To see if you are a good candidate for buccal fat removal, request a consultation or call us at (512) 244-1439 to schedule an appointment.

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