Buccal fat pad (BFP) is a singular structure between the facial muscles. Its removal may enhance the zygomatic prominences resulting in an inverted triangle of beauty. (Ref) Buccal fat pad removal is performed to close oroantral communications and for aesthetic recontouring of the face
What is buccal fat removal?
Buccal fat removal, also known as buccal lipectomy, is a surgical procedure that involves removing excess fat from the cheek area. It is typically performed to give the face a slimmer and more defined appearance, or to address problems such as chubby cheeks or a “chipmunk” appearance.
The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia, and involves making small incisions inside the cheek to access the buccal fat pad. The excess fat is then removed using a small instrument such as a cannula. The incisions are closed with sutures, and the procedure usually takes about one hour to complete.
Buccal fat removal is generally considered to be a safe and effective way to improve the appearance of the face, but it is a surgical procedure and carries some risks. These may include bleeding, infection, and scarring. It is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of the procedure with a qualified plastic surgeon before deciding whether it is right for you.
Who is a good candidate for buccal fat removal?
Buccal fat removal is typically recommended for people who have excess fat in their cheeks that they would like to have removed. This may include people who have naturally chubby cheeks or a round face, or those who feel that their cheeks make their face appear too full or disproportionate.
In general, the best candidates for buccal fat removal are healthy adults who are in good physical condition and do not have any underlying medical conditions that could complicate the surgery. It is also important for candidates to have realistic expectations about the procedure and its outcomes.
Buccal fat removal may not be suitable for individuals with a narrow facial structure or who are older, as the natural loss of buccal fat tends to occur with aging.
Before deciding whether buccal fat removal is right for you, it is important to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon. The surgeon will evaluate your medical history, physical condition, and goals for the procedure, and help you determine whether you are a good candidate for the procedure.
What happens before a buccal fat removal surgery?
Before a buccal fat removal surgery, you will typically have a consultation with a plastic surgeon or facial plastic surgeon. During the consultation, the surgeon will examine your face and discuss your goals for the procedure. They may ask about your medical history and any medications you are currently taking.
The surgeon will also explain the details of the procedure to you, including the risks and potential complications. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
It is important to be candid with your surgeon about your expectations and any concerns you have. This will help them determine if buccal fat removal is a suitable option for you and ensure that you have a safe and successful surgery.
Before the procedure, you may be asked to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, that could increase the risk of bleeding during surgery. You may also be asked to stop smoking, as smoking can interfere with the healing process.
On the day of the surgery, you will need to arrive at the surgical facility or hospital a few hours before the procedure. You will be given instructions on how to prepare for the surgery, such as showering with a special soap or not eating or drinking after midnight. You will also be given any necessary pre-surgery medications.
What happens during a buccal fat removal procedure?
Buccal fat removal is a surgical procedure that involves removing fat from the cheeks. It is typically performed using a local anesthetic to numb the area, although general anesthesia may be used in some cases.
During the procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision inside the mouth, near the cheekbone. They will then use a special instrument to carefully remove a portion of the buccal fat pad. The incision is then closed with sutures or dissolvable stitches.
The procedure typically takes one to two hours to complete and is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you will be able to go home the same day.
After the surgery, you may experience swelling and bruising in the affected area. The surgeon will provide you with instructions on how to care for the surgical site and manage any discomfort. It is important to follow these instructions closely to ensure a smooth recovery.
The results of buccal fat removal are typically long-lasting, although the natural loss of facial fat that occurs with aging may affect the results over time. It is important to have realistic expectations about the results of the procedure and to understand that it is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle and proper skincare.
What are the risks associated with buccal fat removal surgery?
As with any surgical procedure, buccal fat removal carries certain risks. Some of the potential risks and complications of this procedure include:
Infection: There is a small risk of infection at the surgical site, which can usually be treated with antibiotics.
Bleeding: Bleeding is a rare complication of buccal fat removal, but it can occur. If significant bleeding occurs, it may require additional surgery to control.
Nerve damage: There is a risk of nerve damage (facial nerve) during the procedure, which can result in numbness or tingling in the affected area. This is usually temporary, but in rare cases, it may be permanent.
Asymmetry: It is possible for the results of the procedure to be uneven, resulting in asymmetry in the appearance of the cheeks. This can usually be corrected with additional surgery.
Scarring: There may be scarring at the incision site, although this is typically minimal and hidden inside the mouth.
Trismus: It is another potential complication leads to reduced mouth opening
It is important to discuss these and any other potential risks and complications with your surgeon before the procedure. It is also important to follow all post-surgery instructions carefully to minimize the risk of complications and ensure a smooth recovery.
What is the recovery time for buccal fat removal surgery?
Your surgeon will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site and promote healing after the procedure. It is essential to follow these instructions and attend any follow-up appointments as recommended. The recovery process after buccal fat removal typically takes around three weeks, but it may take several months to see the final results of the surgery.
When should I see my healthcare provider?
It is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions for post-surgery care and to contact them if you have any concerns or questions. You should also contact your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following after your buccal fat removal procedure:
- Fever or chills
- Persistent pain or swelling at the surgical site
- Redness, warmth, or drainage from the incision
- Numbness or tingling that does not go away
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking
- Difficulty breathing
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, as they may be a sign of a serious complication.
In general, it is also a good idea to follow up with your healthcare provider as recommended after the procedure, even if you are not experiencing any issues. This will allow them to monitor your progress and ensure that you are healing properly.
Some common questions you can ask your provider:
- Am I a good candidate for cheek reduction surgery?
- Do you have a portfolio of before-and-after photos of this type of surgery?
- What are the risks to having this procedure?
- What’s the recovery time after this procedure?
- Will this procedure leave any scarring?
- What kind of changes can I expect after buccal fat removal over time?
- What if I develop complications?
- What kind of complications can I expect if things don’t go as planned?
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