Buccal fat removal: all you need to know
Buccal fat removal surgery is a cosmetic surgery intended to make the cheeks thinner in people who want to have a more contoured, slimmer face with emphasized cheekbones and jawlines.
Also known as cheek reduction, buccal fat pad removal, buccal lipectomy, and bichectomy, this minor facial contouring surgery involves making a small incision inside the mouth in the inner side of the cheeks (buccal mucosa), and removing the buccal fat pad, also known as Bichat’s fat pad, which is located just below the cheekbones.
What is buccal fat pad?
The buccal fat pad is a mass of fat located in the cheek hollow area between the buccinator muscle and other more superficial muscles. The size of Bichat’s fat pad differs for each individual, and the buccal fat pad in the two cheeks may have different sizes.
Some people prefer slim cheeks over chubby cheeks
Am I a candidate for buccal fat removal procedure
Having a buccal fat removal surgery is a highly personal decision. It fits baby-faced people who are bothered by their chubby cheeks and round face. If you are considering a cheek fat reduction surgery, keep in mind that you should have realistic expectations and discuss them with your surgeon. Bichectomy is not suitable for people with bony faces because reducing the volume of the cheeks make the face look older, especially as people enter their 30s.
Generally speaking, you may be a good candidate for a buccal fat extraction surgery if:
- You are generally healthy and you have a normal weight
- You have realistic expectations
- You are not satisfied with the appearance of your plump cheeks
- You are a nonsmoker
Before arranging for a surgery appointment, spend some time reviewing buccal fat removal before and after photos to see the results in different people with different faces. Keep in mind that if you plan to have a weight loss in the future, you had better wait for now, because your face will probably get thinner after you lose weight.
How is a bichectomy performed?
Cheek reduction surgery is a simple outpatient procedure, which is often performed under local anesthesia, but general anesthesia can also be used if the surgeon concludes that it is a more appropriate choice for a particular case.
After applying anesthesia, the surgeon makes a small cut inside of the mouth in the inner lining of the cheek. Then using surgical instruments, he/she locates the fat pad, pulls it out of the hole, cuts is with a pair of scissors or cauter, and cauterizes the remaining fat.
Finally, the incision is closed and stitched up to heal. The sutures used for stitching are typically absorbable and will eventually dissolve on their own. You can go home on the same day of the surgery after feeling stable.
Buccal fat removal recovery
There will be little or no downtime after a buccal lipectomy and you can return to work and resume your daily activities the next day, unless you get it in conjunct with another procedure, such as a facelift.
You might be instructed to keep on a liquid diet for several days. Your doctor may prescribe you a special diet to reduce the risk of infection or inflation on your face.
Doctor’s instructions will basically include:
- How to care for your surgical site
- When to seek a follow-up
- Medications to be taken orally or applied to the surgical area to help with healing and reduce the risk of infection
- Dietary guidelines for the first few days of the recovery period
Ask your surgeon specific questions regarding the details of the surgery and recovery
- How much time do I need to stay in the clinic/hospital after the surgery is complete?
- What medication should I take after the surgery?
- Will I need to have bandages after the surgery? When should I have them removed?
- When can I return to work and normal activities?
- When should I come back for the follow-up?
Normally, the healing process lasts for two or three weeks and you will have swelling during this period. The initial result of buccal fat removal surgery will typically show up after the swelling is completely gone. It may take several months to see the final results of a cheek reduction procedure.
Before and after buccal fat pad reduction
Be careful not to subject the surgical incisions to excessive force, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. Following your doctor’s instructions is key to a successful buccal fat reduction surgery.
Buccal fat removal risks and safety
Buccal fat removal is a relatively safe surgery without major risks and complications. However, every surgery poses a number of risks and may cause some complications. By choosing a well-trained plastic surgeon, you can reduce the likelihood of post-op complications.
Your doctor and the medical staff will explain to you in detail the risks and potential complications of a bichectomy so that the surgery will be done by your informed consent.
The possible risks of buccal fat extraction surgery include swelling, infection, slow or poor healing, hematoma, anesthesia-related complications, permanent or temporal facial muscle weakness, fluid accumulation (seroma), numbness, injury to the facial nerves, asymmetrical cheeks. Most of these complications rarely happen and, if occur, they will be temporary.
The success rate and also the safety of your buccal fat removal surgery process depends highly on your personal medical status and the consultation you make with the plastic surgeon you choose. The plastic surgeon will ask you questions about your health, lifestyle, medical history, etc.
Make sure to ask your doctor all the questions you have in mind. It’s highly important to understand all the aspects of your buccal fat removal surgery.
Why have cheek reduction surgery in Iran?
The skill and competence of Iranian plastics surgeons, advanced clinics and hospitals, and affordable cost of cosmetic surgery in Iran make the country an ideal destination for plastic surgery candidates from around the world. Besides, Iran has much to offer to foreign tourists, ranging from great tourist attractions to hospitable people who are very kind to visitors.
Buccal fat removal surgery cost in Iran
The cost of a cheek reduction procedure in Iran ranges from $500 to $1000, depending on the surgeon fee and the clinic. While the average cost of a bichectomy in the world is $2500, you can have the same procedure in Iran at a fraction of this price. This is especially a wise choice when if you have a buccal fat removal combined with other procedures in a single trip to Iran, which would save you thousands of dollars.