How Will Buccal Fat Removal Affect Your Smile?

Chubby cheeks look adorable on an infant, but you may not appreciate them if they stay with you into adulthood. Fortunately, a plastic surgeon can help by removing some of the fat in your cheeks, called buccal fat. Doing so can make both your cheekbones and jawline more prominent, giving your face a slimmer appearance. The procedure is known as buccal fat removal and can be performed under local or general anesthesia.

What is Buccal Fat? 

Inside each of your cheeks is capsule of fat known as a buccal fat pad. It’s usually about the size of a walnut but it can vary in size and shape from one person to the next. The buccal fat pad sits in the lower cheek and is what gives your cheeks their fullness and shape.

How is Buccal Fat Removal Performed? 

During a buccal fat removal procedure, your surgeon will make an incision on the inside of your cheek near the back of your mouth. This avoids leaving any scars on the face. They will then access your buccal fat pad through the incision and remove some or all of it. The removal, or excision, of the buccal fat pad will remove some of the volume from your cheeks and thin your face. When the surgeon reaches your desired level of cheek reduction, they will close your incisions.

Is Buccal Fat Removal the Same as Liposuction? 

When people think about removing fat from the body they tend to think of liposuction (or lipo), but the two procedures aren’t the same. Buccal fat is encapsulated, and removing it involves removing all or part of the capsule. Liposuction removes subcutaneous fat found just under the skin.  

Depending on your needs, your surgeon may recommend liposuction instead of a buccal fat removal procedure. Sometimes surgeons perform the two procedures together to reduce and shape the cheeks. Generally, lipo provides a more general reduction in facial fat while buccal fat removal offers a more targeted approach.

Will Buccal Fat Removal Affect My Smile? 

Buccal fat removal will not impact your smile or your ability to make other facial expressions. The before and after effects of buccal fat removal surgery are actually quite subtle in most people, affecting very little of their face. Plastic surgery often delivers dramatic results, but in this case drama is undesirable. Removing too much buccal fat results in a gaunt, sickly appearance. A slight change in appearance that doesn’t drastically change your facial features or expression is exactly what you want.

Does Buccal Fat Removal Remove Smile Lines? 

Some people do notice a reduction in their smile lines after a buccal fat removal, but you may or may not. Reducing smile lines is not the goal of the procedure but more of a potential side effect that you may or may not experience. A facelift may be a better option for you if eliminating smile lines is your ultimate goal. 

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