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Buccal Fat Extraction

Buccal fat is the deep facial fat between your cheeks, cheekbones and jaw bones that help make up the shape of your face. This deep fatty layer should not be confused with the thin superficial layer of the fat under the skin of your cheeks. Buccal fat is much deeper, sandwiched between the chewing muscle master above and the the smile muscle buccinator below it.

The buccal fat compartment is connected to the fat inside the deeper layers of the temples above and laterally deep to the parotid gland.

Everyone has buccal fat, but some individuals, thanks to genetics, have more buccal fat than others.

The excess buccal fat is not related to body fat, nor does it respond to weight loss or weight gain. The thin layer of the superficial fat under the skin of your cheeks does, however, respond minutely to body weight changes.

Thus, frustration may set in for someone who exercises regularly but the face remains round and fatty. To learn more about what we can do when your buccal fat doesn’t cooperate with your goals, read our buccal fat extraction FAQs below.

Dr. Leon Forrester Tcheupdjian

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Dr. Leon Forrester Tcheupdjian

Learn more about Buccal Fat Extraction

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes a round face?

The most common reasons for having “round face,” or “moon face” as it’s known sometimes, is caused by:

  • Genetics
  • Steroid medications (ie prednisone) prescribed for inflammation (asthma or arthritis)
  • Cushing syndrome (condition where the adrenal glands secrete excessive amounts of cortisol into the blood)
  • Enlargement of the masseters (chewing) muscles
    Excessive buccal (cheek) fat

If I have a round face do I need buccal fat extraction surgery?

The short answer is maybe. The detailed answer depends on a couple variables. First, are you taking a steroid or a medication for Cushing syndrome, which can cause a bloated, round face? If so, then the buccal fat procedure may not be for you. If genetics is the culprit, then you may be a good candidate. But many patients try botox first. Simple botox injections can help relax the masseters, which in turn gives the face a more defined shape. The next natural step would then be the buccal fat extraction surgery.

What does the buccal fat extraction accomplish?

Removing the buccal converts the round face to a V-shape and highlights the bony contour of the face, especially highlighting your cheekbones and hollowing out areas below your cheeks, between the cheek and the jawline. This procedure is also sometimes called a cheek fat reduction.

What Is Buccal Fat Removal?

Buccal fat removal an in-office facial cosmetic surgery that extracts unwanted buccal from both sides of the cheeks and gives you that V-shape, chiseled look you have always wanted.

What are the potential risks of excessive and aggressive buccal fat extraction?

Usually, in cosmetic medicine excessive or aggressive treatments may not be a good thing. Extracting too much buccal fat can actually make you look older than you are later in life. By definition, aging is losing the natural fat from your face. Thus, it is best to be on the conservative side and remove proper amounts of buccal fat, rather than being excessive. Remember, you can always remove more buccal fat later, but you can never add or replace the buccal fat that you have removed. So when it comes to buccal fat, it is always best to be conservative.

How is buccal fat extraction accomplished?

During buccal fat extraction surgery, your surgeon will inject a numbing medication. It may feel like the shot you get at the dentist’s office. Then, the surgeon will make a tiny incision in your inner cheek, near your upper molars, and gently massage your cheeks to squeeze the buccal fat out or introduce a thin liposuction cannula go through the small cheek incision and suction out your buccal fat pads.

The tiny incision will then be closed and you’ll be sent home with medication, usually an antiseptic mouthwash to prevent oral infection.

What is the recovery from buccal fat extraction like?

After surgery, you may experience temporary bruising and swelling of the face and cheeks. These side effects are normal and will fade in several days. The final results of the surgery may not be visible for a few months as the swelling reduces. With time, more slender, well-defined cheeks will emerge.

Are there any risks to buccal fat extraction?

  • Removing too much fat too early in life
  • Removing too much fat can leave your face looking
  • saggyAbnormal bleeding (extremely rare)
  • Facial asymmetry (truth is, everyone has some already, but the surgery can make it more conspicuous)
  • Lockjaw (extremely rare)
  • Nerve damage, numbness (extremely rare)

What does buccal fat extraction cost?

Typically, expect anywhere from $3000 to $4500, depending on the scope of the procedure and your goals. Financing is available. This fee is inclusive of all supplies, support staff, medications and follow-up appointments.

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