MiraBelle Spa

Buccal Fat Removal

Buccal fat removal is a type of plastic surgery. It’s also known as a buccal lipectomy or cheek reduction surgery. The goal of buccal fat removal is to thin the cheeks, specifically in the area of the cheek hollows. Although a face that is naturally soft and filled out is considered youthful, some people find that their face feels too full, even chubby.

A buccal fat removal removes the buccal fat pad, a naturally-occurring pad of fat in the cheek hollow area. The size of the buccal fat pad varies with each individual patient, and the buccal fat pad in each cheek may be different sizes. Buccal fat pad extraction surgery is typically not performed in people with thin, narrow faces as removal of the fat may cause the face to look more gaunt with age. This procedure can often be done in the office under local anesthesia but a consultation is needed to determine which anesthesia method will be best.

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The surgery can be done alone or with another form of plastic surgery, such as:

  • Facelift
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Chin implants
  • Lip augmentation
  • Botox injection

What’s the procedure like?


Before the procedure, you’ll talk to your plastic surgeon about your:

  • Expectations and goals
  • Medical conditions
  • Current medications, including vitamins and supplements
  • Alcohol, tobacco, and drug use
  • Drug allergies
  • Past surgeries

This information allows your plastic surgeon to decide the best surgical approach as well as determine possible risks and recovery outlook. You might need to stop taking some medications or get blood tests before the procedure. Your plastic surgeon will also analyze your face and take pictures to plan the surgery.


The procedure may be done in a hospital or in a doctor’s office. Here’s what it usually involves:

  • If you’re only getting buccal fat removal, you’ll be given local anesthesia in your face. You won’t feel any pain, but you’ll be awake during the procedure.
  • If you’re receiving more than one surgery, you might be given general anesthesia. In this case, you’ll need a ride to and from the surgeon’s office.
  • Your surgeon will make an incision inside your cheek. They’ll place pressure on the outside of your cheek to further expose the buccal fat pad.
  • Your surgeon will cut and remove the fat.
  • They’ll close the wound with dissolvable stitches.

Before going home, you’ll be given a special mouthwash to prevent infection. Your provider will explain how to care for your incision.

  • You’ll need to eat a liquid diet for several days. You can then progress to soft foods before returning to your normal diet.
  • After the surgery, your face will be swollen and you may experience bruising. Both should diminish as you heal. Full recovery usually takes about 3 weeks.
  • During recovery, follow your doctor’s directions for self-care and eating. Attend all of your follow-up appointments.

You can expect to see results in several months. It takes time for your cheeks to settle into their new shape.

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