Buccal (Cheek) Fat Removal Surgery – Cost & Everything You Need To Know

Sam Woodgate

The cheek fat deposit is a concentrated and circular mass of fat that lies in the centre of our cheeks. It exists between the muscles of the face in the void region just below the cheekbone. The scope of the buccal fat pads will bear an impact on your face form.

Note: every human has buccal fat deposits but their actual size differs from one person to another.

In case you have bigger buccal fat pads, you may see that your face looks too rounded or baby-face like.

While there is nothing off with hereditary larger cheeks, if you wish to shrink their size, a plastic surgeon might suggest cheek fat removal surgery. This will make the cheeks appear thinner and smaller.

If buccal fat removal is an option for you, keep on reading to find out more about the intervention, buccal fat removal cost and its possible side effects.

What refers to buccal fat removal surgery/procedure?

“Buccal fat removal” is a kind of plastic surgery that is also referred to as “buccal lipectomy” or cheek reduction plastic surgery.

During the surgery, the doctor removes the buccal fat spots beneath your cheeks. This will shrink the size and thickness of your cheeks and accentuate facial contours.

The surgery can be performed alone or in conjunction with other procedures like:

  • Rhinoplasty
  • Face lifting
  • Chin implants
  • Botox and fillers
  • Lip enhancement

Who is a suitable candidate for buccal/cheek fat removal?

You may be a great candidate for cheek fat removal if any of the following conditions apply to your case:

  • You are in great physical health
  • You are within a normal weight scale
  • You have a rounded and fatty face
  • You have pseudoherniation/small circular fat depository in the cheeks due to lose buccal fat area
  • You find that fullness of your cheeks is excessive
  • You wish to feminize your facial contours
  • You set realistic expectations
  • You are non-smoker or drinker

Not everyone though is a good candidate for buccal fat removal. You are not a good candidate if the following applies to you:

  • You have a narrow/oblong face. If your face is naturally long and thin, the surgery will make your face and cheeks look even more droopy and long with age.
  • You suffer from gradual hemifacial atrophy–parry-romberg syndrome. This is a rare condition that makes skin on one facial side to become smaller and droopy. It has a negative impact on cheek fat.
  • You are not young. When we get older, we naturally lose some fat and collagen in the facial muscles. If you do this surgery at an older age e.g. 60s, all existing signs of aging will be exaggerated.

A plastic surgeon is a top expert to find out if you are a suitable candidate or not.

What is the surgery like?

Pre-surgery considerations

Before the actual surgery, you will discuss with your doctor the following:

  • Goals and expectations of results
  • Medical history and health status
  • If you are currently taking any medication as well as supplements and vitamins.
  • If you are a regular user of substances e.g. smoke, alcohol or drugs
  • If you ever had or currently having any allergies
  • Any history of surgeries in the past

All these considerations will help your doctor to determine the most suitable surgical intervention along with any potential complications and recovery period.

You may also have to pause taking certain drugs or do some blood checks before the surgery.

Your doctor will also examine your face shape and lines and take some pics to design the surgery and its outcomes.

During the surgery

You can do the procedure in a clinic, hospital or plastic surgeon’s office. Here are some things included:

  1. If you’ll be having cheek fat surgery only, the doctor will apply an anesthetic topically. You will be numbed but you will be awake and able to see the procedure.
  2. If you are having another intervention in addition to buccal fat removal, your doctor will probably administer general anesthesia. Since you will not be awake during the procedure, you need to schedule someone to drive you to and from the doctor’s office or clinic.
  3. Your doctor will trim off and get rid of excess fat.
  4. The wounds will be sealed with dissolvable stitching.

Post procedure considerations

Before you go back home, your doctor will give you a mouthwash that is specially catered to protect you from infections. They will also give you some advice on how to properly take care of the wounded area.

Since the facial muscles will be weak and extra sensitive right after the procedure, you will be on a liquid-only diet for a few days until you can gradually chew soft and solid foods.

Soon after the procedure, you will encounter some face swelling, bloating and wounding. This is perfectly normal and will typically fade away as you approach full recovery.

It typically takes 3 weeks for a full recovery and returns to daily routines.

Make sure to follow your Doctor’s guidelines and care advice, especially when you are eating and cleansing the area. You also have to visit your doctor for follow-ups.

Keep in mind that it takes several months to see full results from the surgery. Your cheeks will require some time to set and fix their new form.

What are some possible side effects of cheek fat removal?

Cheek fat removal is typically considered a safe procedure. But, similar to all surgical interventions, there is always a risk of undesired and adverse complications.

Potential side effects include:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Damage of facial nerves
  • Lockjaw
  • Deep vein clogging (thrombosis)
  • Heart attack
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Serome (accumulation of fluids)
  • Poor esthetic results
  • Excess removal of fat/hollow cheeks
  • Adverse reaction to anesthetics
  • Damage of salivary glands

You may consider having another surgery to fix any of these problems.


How much does buccal fat removal cost?

Buccal fat removal typically ranges from $2K-$5K. The actual cost of the surgery may vary according to things like:

  • Doctor’s experience and qualifications
  • Type of anaesthesia applied
  • Prescription drugs

Major Considerations

Buccal fat removal is a surgical procedure that shrinks the volume and size of your cheeks. A surgeon takes off the buccal fat depositories, creating a thinner face.

If you are a good candidate based on certain criteria and have a rounder face, you may get the surgery.

Typically, the surgery is safe with no major side effects noted. Recovery time lasts a few weeks.

Like all surgery procedures, there is a risk for side effects. To avoid any issues and get the best results possible, work with a qualified plastic surgeon with proven working experience.

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