While babies look cute with plump cheeks, well-defined cheekbones are considered more attractive in adults. To be honest, the chubbiness of the cheeks which makes babies look adorable often makes grown-ups look older than they really are.
It is even scientifically proven that too much fat makes the skin around the face lose its elasticity, eventually making them look saggy and wrinkled. This is where buccal fat removal comes into play. Before we dive deep into the world of buccal fat removal, its procedure, cost, and recovery, let’s understand what exactly buccal fat is and what the removal procedure entails.
Buccal Fat Removal: What Is Buccal Fat?
Buccal fat refers to the fat in the middle of the cheek, which makes the face appear round and chubby. The fat pad is in the hollow areas beneath the cheekbone between the facial muscles. Everyone has buccal fat but in different measures, which accounts for their face’s distinct shape. That means the more the buccal fat, the more rounded the face will appear.
This fat develops during puberty and mostly remains the same thereafter, even if you lose weight. Besides, with age, the fat pads become prominent, making you look older. Now buccal fat removal is the process of removing these extra fat pads from the center of the cheek to make them look slimmer and symmetrical. While there is no harm in having extra buccal fat, some people prefer to get them removed as they perceive it as more aesthetic and prevents sagging and wrinkling of the skin. It is completely a personal choice.
If you are considering going through the procedure, this article will help you understand all the basics of buccal fat removal, its procedure, cost, and recovery period.
Buccal Fat Removal Procedure And Recovery!
Buccal fat removal, also known as buccal lipectomy or cheek reduction surgery in medical terms, is a type of plastic surgery. During the procedure, the surgeon creates a small incision under anesthesia on both sides of the cheeks from the inner side. Following this, they put pressure from the outside of the cheek to squeeze out the extra soft fat from under the cheekbones. They may remove some or all the fat depending on the requirement to give the face the desired shape and define the facial angles. This kind of surgery is accompanied by other facial surgeries like facelifts, Botox, and others. Later the cuts are closed with dissolvable stitches.
The procedure requires a lot of care before and after the surgery to avoid any complications and infections, and for faster recovery.
Before the procedure, have clear communication with your surgeon about:
- The expectation you have from the surgery
- Your medical conditions
- Medications and supplements you take regularly
- Your lifestyle habits like diet, alcohol intake, and smoking habits
- Your family history
- Details of your previous surgeries
All these things play a crucial role in determining the success of the procedure and your recovery period. By hiding information from your surgeon, you will only put your health at risk. A few things you may be asked to do before the surgery are:
- Skipping the medications and supplements for a few days before the surgery
- Getting a blood test to know about any undetected health issues
- A picture to analyze and plan the procedure
Who Is The Best Candidate For Buccal Fat Surgery?
As suggested earlier, buccal fat removal is a personal choice. It depends on an individual’s desire to undergo it. However, there are several factors that determine if you are the best candidate for the procedure or not. For this, you need to book an appointment with a good plastic surgeon. Only after examining your physical health and your facial structure can the surgeon tell you if you are fit or not.
Usually, the surgery is recommended for people who have a round face, excess fat mass under the skin due to weak buccal fat, and those who want to make their face look angular. Even in this case, they must be healthy, fit, and non-smokers to undergo the surgery.
Experts do not recommend this surgery for those who have a narrow face, individuals who are too old, or those who suffer from progressive hemifacial atrophy(1), which is a type of rare skin disorder.
The Benefits Of Buccal Fat Removal
The buccal fat removal face makes your face look slimmer, well-defined, and younger. It is an easy and safe process to avoid premature sagging and wrinkling of the skin. Once you are done with the surgery, you will start witnessing the difference in your face within a few months, as it takes some time for your face to settle down.
What To Expect After The Procedure
After surgery, you may feel numb if you are under the anesthesia’s influence. As the effect of the anesthesia starts to wear off, you may feel the pain of the incision. Your face will look swollen, and you may experience bruising. But all these things are temporary and with time, the condition gets better. Usually, it takes 3 weeks for a person to recover from buccal fat removal surgery. During this time, it is advised to go for regular check-ups to stay updated about your condition.
Recovery And Aftercare
After the procedure, you need to be extra careful to avoid any infection and wear and tear of stitches made inside the mouth. Along with this, you also need to take care of what you eat for the next few days. Choose foods that can help recover faster and don’t irritate the area near the stitches. Wash your mouth with mouthwash frequently to avoid any infection.
What To Eat After The Buccal Fat Removal Surgery?
Due to swollen face and incision on the inner side of your mouth, you will not be able to eat solid and spicy food in the days after the surgery. Liquid diets are best during the recovery period. You can return to a normal solid diet slowly with time. Things you may have include:
- Cottage cheese
- Smooth soups
- Mashed potatoes
- Fruit juice and smoothies
- Yoghurt and curd
Risks Of Buccal Fat Removal
Although the procedure has been around for a while and is considered safe, some potential complications and risks are involved. Some of the side effects that patients have after surgery are:
- Facial nerve damage
- Excess removal of fat
- Facial asymmetry
- Fluid accumulation
- Salivary gland damage
To correct these issues, you may have to undergo another surgery. Sometimes these issues arise when the patient does not disclose complete information about their health and medical conditions. This is the reason it is recommended to be honest with your medical professional.
The Cost Of Buccal Fat Removal
Now that we have discussed the procedure, recovery, and risk involved with surgery, the next important question is how much buccal fat removal costs. Well, costs depend on several factors like the place where you live, the experience of your surgeon and the choice of your hospital.
In the US, the procedure costs somewhere between 5,000 USD to 20,000 USD. This varies from city to city and clinic to clinic. The price of this procedure is comparatively less than other complicated face surgeries like facelifts and Botox.
As buccal fat removal is cosmetic surgery, it is not included in health insurance. So, if you are planning to get it done, be ready to pay the expenses from your pocket.
Buccal fat removal surgery is quite safe if you get it done by an expert who has years of experience in the field. You may have to pay a little more to avail of the service from a senior cosmetic surgeon, but it would be worth it because the risk involved will be less. You won’t want to rely on newcomers when it is a matter of your face and health. The surgery is recommended for those who have excessive fat around their cheek, which makes their skin look saggy and older than they really are.
Even then, have an honest conversation about the procedure, recovery, and costs of the buccal fat removal process with your surgeon to get a fair idea about it. Provide every single detail about your health and medication to help the surgeon suggest the right treatment and avoid any health-related complications during the procedure. Most importantly, have realistic expectations.
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