What is Buccal Fat?
The buccal fat pads are the anatomical fat structure that supports facial aesthetics and facilitates facial movement. The buccal fat, otherwise known as Bichat’s fat pad, is an important aesthetic feature of the face. By removing fat pads from the buccal region, the cheek projection and overall sculpted contour of the face are improved.
The buccal fat consists of a rounded biconvex fatty structure that is contained by a thin capsule. There are three lobes in the middle third of the cheek area. The buccal fat is fat pads found on the lower cheekbones. The fat pads are located below the forehead and flow down below your cheeks and reach““ your jawline.
It is responsible for fullness in the cheeks and most noticeable in babies where it aids in sucking functions. The size of the buccal fat reduces as the child grows.
The fullness of the cheeks, roundness, or chubby look, often causes frustration with the facial lack of contour.
BUCCAL FAT CAUSES FACIAL FULLNESS
The buccal fat pads can cause facial fullness in adults; removal may be considered for any age group and done in conjunction with other facial procedures. Weight fluctuations may affect the size of the buccal fat pad which can vary from the size of a grape to the size of a golf ball.
For some people, the buccal fat can descend, adding to the jowl. To achieve a nice jawline with a facelift, it is essential for the plastic surgeon to identify the herniated fat pad for removal. If it is not removed, the jowl will only be partially corrected.
For many people, especially young adults, the full cheeks remain from childhood and reduction may be indicated. Other people, are overweight or have a genetic component to this facial feature. These are all reasons to have buccal fat reduction surgery.
Who is a good candidate for Buccal fat removal surgery?
An ideal candidate for buccal fat reduction has prominent zygomatic or cheekbones that are obscured by pronounced cheekbones. Such patients tend to lack an angular face shape. By removing the buccal fat pads, their cheeks will appear less full and their cheekbones will be more prominent.
Buccal fat reduction is not indicated in cases of malar hypoplasia or a flat cheekbone. In these patients, the removal of buccal fat pads will result in hollow cheeks. As a result, it is important to understand that buccal fat removal is not a substitute for augmentation of the malar area.
About Buccal Fat Pad Removal
The majority of individuals dislike their “baby face” or “chipmunk cheeks” and would like a more defined appearance. In most cases, the problem is caused by the buccal pat pads that every human being is born with. Obviously, some people have more prominent fat pads, which makes their faces appear rounder with excessive fullness.
This is made worse by the fact that prominent buccal pat pads are often genetic, so it can be difficult to improve them. A buccal fat pad excision can help address this problem. A more contoured appearance is achieved by removing the buccal fat pads from the inside of the mouth.
Cheek reduction surgery of the buccal fat is usually done inside the mouth. It can be done from the outside during a SMAS facelift, but Dr. Miguel Delgado, M.D., one of the San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgeons, prefers the inside of the mouth as it is riskier on the outside due to the facial nerves in the area.
Buccal Fat Surgical Steps
Reduction of the Cheek
Buccal fat pad excision aims to thin the cheeks, particularly in the hollows of the cheeks.
What is the process involved in buccal fat removal?
Getting rid of buccal fat is a three-step process:
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications will be administered during the procedure to ensure your comfort. Anesthesia for plastic surgery options includes local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, and general anesthesia. If buccal fat removal is the only surgery performed, the local anesthesia works very well in most cases. It is similar to going to the dentist but less painful in most cases. If the buccal fat removal surgery is performed with other procedures like a facelift it is usually performed under general anesthesia.
Step 2 – Incision
The inner portion of the cheek must be incised for buccal fat removal. It is sometimes possible to remove buccal fat pad facial fat during a facelift, without making an incision inside the mouth.
Step 3 – Closure of the incisions
Sutures are used to close the small incision inside the mouth. A qualified Plastic surgeon usually uses absorbable sutures, but each performs the procedure differently. Make sure not to play with your sutures until your surgeon gives you the OK to do so. You should be on a liquid diet or soft foods for 24 hours during the healing process.
Step 4 – Results
You will achieve a slimmer, more contoured cheek after your buccal fat removal surgery, specifically in the cheek hollow area.
If you are considering facial plastic surgery rejuvenation, call now (415) 898-4161 for a consultation with Dr. Delgado who is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and facelift specialist practicing in San Francisco Bay Area and Marin County.
Is the buccal fat hard to find?
With less experienced plastic surgeons, the buccal fat is commonly missed leaving the patient with unsatisfactory results. It takes an expert cosmetic plastic surgeon to look for the possibility of the descended buccal fat.
How long does buccal fat pad removal last?
This is a permanent solution for this facial fat. It should not return and may reduce more over time as you age. This is the reason not to be overly aggressive.
Is buccal fat removal painful?
No, this procedure is not painful. The discomfort is less than going to the dentist in most cases.
Can buccal fat pads be removed naturally?
A person can lose weight and sometimes it will affect the buccal fat. In some cases, when a person drops the weight down to a certain point the facial fat resolve, and a quant appearance may occur. This is often due to the loss of buccal fat volume.
Why do people remove the buccal fat pad?
Chubby cheeks or a full round face is a look that some people do not find attractive. Removal of this facial fat will create a more angular or sculpted appearance. This will also enhance and bring to life the cheekbones.
Can you remove buccal fat without surgery?
No, buccal can not be removed without surgery. However, loss of body fat can, in some cases, reduce facial fat and if you gain weight it may increase fat in the buccal space. Facial plastic surgery or plastic reconstructive surgery is the easiest way to rid the fullness of buccal fat.