Buccal Fat Reduction
Buccal (pronounced BUCK-ull) fat reduction surgery removes excess fat from the cheeks to produce a more contoured and refined appearance.
About buccal fat reduction
A face with some fullness looks healthy and youthful. Excessive fullness may however give you a “chipmunk” effect. Buccal fat reduction addresses this problem by removing excess fat from the cheeks to produce a more delicate, chiseled appearance. As with all surgical procedures, before you make a decision, give it some careful thought.
Most people’s faces start to thin as they reach their 30s, so any fullness now may disappear as you age. If you choose to have buccal fat reduction performed before this natural slimming of the face occurs, you may find your face becoming too thin over time.
One of the best approaches is to look at your genetics. Did your parents have overly plump faces when they were young? Did this plumpness persist once they reached their 30s and 40s? If so, you may have inherited their more rounded facial appearance. If not, having buccal fat reduction surgery while you are still young may leave you looking gaunt as you get older.
During your consultation, your surgeon should take a complete medical history and enquire about any medications you are currently taking and whether you smoke. He should ask about your goals for the procedure, explain what you can expect and describe how the procedure will be performed.
What to expect from your operation
Buccal fat reduction is most often performed as a day case using local anaesthesia coupled with sedation or a general anaesthetic.
A small (2-4 cm) incision should be made between your cheek and gums, near your second molar from the back. Your surgeon will then press on the outside of your cheek to make the buccal fat protrude through the incision. When the correct amount has been removed he should close the incision, most often with dissolvable sutures.
After your surgery
For 2 weeks after your surgery it is advisable for you to sleep on 2 pillows, so as to keep your head elevated. It is also advisable to rest for around 3 weeks.
During your recovery period there are several things you should expect:
• You will have some discomfort, but this should be controlled by pain medication prescribed for you. If you experience excessive pain, redness or any other symptoms that seem abnormal you should contact your surgeon immediately, as you may have an infection.
• Bruising and swelling are normal after surgery and should subside within 2 weeks.
• Due to the incision being inside your mouth you will probably have to eat a restricted diet for a while. Your surgeon should tell you what foods to avoid. You should also be advised to rinse your mouth several times a day with an antibacterial mouthwash.
• Normally dissolvable sutures are used, therefore it should not be necessary to have them removed. Please resist the temptation to chew on the stitches you feel inside your cheek.
• Your first follow-up appointment should be around 1 week after surgery, when your surgeon can assess the progress your wounds have made. It is important to take it easy, avoid bending over and lifting heavy objects. Contact sports should be avoided for at least 6 to 8 weeks.
• Your swelling will continue to subside over several weeks.
• During this time you may notice a change in your smile or odd sensations like tingling, pulling, burning, hollowness, cold or sudden sharp pain. These feelings, are related to the healing of the nerve branches and should subside within the first few weeks.
• Numbness is also possible and, whilst it normally settles within the first few weeks, it may occasionally become a permanent issue. Other possible complications of buccal fat reduction include asymmetry, haematoma, seroma and infraorbital nerve and facial nerve buccal branch dysfunction.