Buccal Fat Extraction: Frequently Asked Questions
Buccal fat extraction is a surgical procedure that helps get rid of chubby, chipmunk cheeks. How is it performed? What happens if you gain weight? Find answers to these common questions and more here.
- What is buccal fat extraction?
- At what age can buccal fat extraction be performed?
- What does a typical buccal fat extraction consultation entail?
- How is buccal fat extraction performed?
- What should I expect postoperatively?
- When will the stitches be removed and does this hurt?
- When will I be able to see the results?
- What are the risks of buccal fat extraction?
- Are the results permanent?
Buccal (pronounced BUCK-ull, as in belt buckle) fat extraction is the removal of a part of the buccal fat pads in the cheeks. These fat pads are located in the lower cheeks and can contribute to an overly round or plump face, sometimes referred to as "chipmunk cheeks."
Buccal fat removal can be done at almost any age. However, keep in mind that many people begin to lose facial fat in their 20s and 30s. If their fat reserves are removed before then, they may end up with a gaunt appearance — a face that looks too thin and possibly unhealthy.
During your buccal fat extraction consultation, your surgeon will discuss your aesthetic goals, review your options and explain what can be realistically achieved with buccal fat extraction. He or she will also discuss the risks and complications of the surgery, anesthesia choices, fees, and what to expect postoperatively. This consultation is when you can ask questions about the surgery and determine if the surgeon is a good choice for you. Do not hesitate to ask lots of questions.
Buccal fat extraction is done on an outpatient basis under light sleep sedation, regional anesthesia with sedation, local anesthesia with oral sedation, or general intravenous sedation, depending on your surgeon's preference and whether or not you're having additional procedures done at the same time (for example, a facelift). After you are anesthetized, your surgeon will make an incision on one side of the inside of your mouth between your upper molars and inner cheek. He or she will then push a bit on the outside of the cheek to push the buccal fat back through the incision, removing small bits of the fat pad a little at a time. This process is repeated on the other side of your face and the incisions are closed.
Following your buccal fat extraction surgery, your lower face and mouth will be sore, swollen and tender. Any bruising will be on the inside of your mouth. You may be put on a special diet of foods that are not acidic, and you may be instructed to sleep with your head elevated and to rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash several times each day. The swelling should dissipate after about two weeks.
The stitches will usually be removed within a week to 10 days after your buccal fat extraction surgery. The process may be uncomfortable, but not overly painful. Suture removal is usually quick.
You should see preliminary results within a week or two as the swelling subsides, but it may take anywhere from two to four months to see the full results of your buccal fat extraction procedure.
Buccal fat extraction, like all surgery, has risks and complications. These risks include allergic reaction to the anesthetic used. There is also a chance of nerve damage, numbness in the cheeks or lower face, skin puckering, unwanted depressions in the cheeks, lumps, hematoma (a pocket of blood), seroma (a pocket of fluid) and infection. Results could be asymmetrical, or you may just be unhappy with the final results.
The results of buccal fat extraction are permanent. However, if you gain a marked amount of weight in the future, your cheeks may plump up again.
Annapolis Aesthetic Surgery, Inc.
116 Defense Hwy.,
Annapolis, MD 21401
10807 Falls Road, #100
Baltimore, MD 21093
Buinewicz Plastic Surgery & Medspa
3655 Route 202
Suites 225 and 230
Doylestown, PA 18902