What Is Buccal Fat & Buccal Fat Removal?

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By Dr. Michelle Sieffert |

What Is Buccal Fat?

Buccal Fat Removal Columbus Ohio

Buccal Fat (pronounced “buh-kl”) is the naturally-occurring fat found between the cheekbones and jaw bones that gives shape to this area of the face. Everyone has buccal fat but the amount and appearance can vary from person to person. 

What Is Buccal Fat Removal?

Buccal fat removal is an in-office surgical procedure that involves the creation of a small incision in the cheek, just above the bite line, to expose the buccal fat “pad.” The surgeon will then press on the cheek to push the fat out, use tweezers to further expose more of the pad, cut the pad, reposition the remaining fat and sew the incision. 

We usually use local anesthesia and the patient is fully awake for this procedure. They can choose to undergo general anesthesia if they are very nervous or if they are having buccal fat removal done in conjunction with other surgical procedures.

What Procedures Are Typically Performed With This Surgery?

Buccal fat surgery can be performed as a standalone surgery. It is often accompanied by a lip lift and/or facelift surgery. It has also been performed in conjunction with Liposuction of the chin.

“A fuller face is often caused by a combination of the buccal fat pad and the muscle underneath that needs to be treated. Buccal fat removal can be performed with Botox into the masseter muscle – another area that can cause fullness in the lower part of the face. This does not result in an immediate change because the muscle has to waste away first to achieve slimming.”

-Dr. Michelle Sieffert

Dr. Sieffert discussing buccal fat removal surgery with a patient

What Does Buccal Fat Removal Do?

This surgery is a purely cosmetic procedure that is used to slim the appearance of the face and provide a more sculpted and thinner look. Patients often express the desire to reduce their “chubby cheeks” when discussing buccal fat surgery. Some individuals have used this procedure to achieve a more “mature” appearance.

Does Buccal Fat Cause Jowls?

Buccal fat goes away naturally as we age. However, this reduction isn’t uniform for every person and some individuals find that their cheeks remain fuller later on in life. The extra fat stored in the cheeks can cause sagging, the appearance of jowls and wrinkles near the nose and mouth as time goes on.

What Is The Recovery Process Like? 

For most patients, recovery takes between 7 and 10 days as the tissue on the inside of the mouth is repaired. We recommend a soft food or liquid diet during this time to minimize the risk of reopening the incisions. A high-protein diet can help aid in recovery. 

Is Buccal Fat Removal Permanent? 

Buccal fat removal is considered a permanent procedure because the fat pads do not grow back after being extracted. To restore volume later in life, patients can opt for Sculptra injections or a surgical fat transfer. However, the space that once contained the buccal fat pad closes over time, so the fat will have to be transferred to an area near the original pocket – not the exact location.

“Volume can be hard to restore, so I tend to be on the more conservative side and not so aggressive when it comes to how much buccal fat I remove. I want the patient to see a difference, but I don’t want to potentially give them a problem in the future with their cheeks looking overly-thin.”

– Dr. Michelle Sieffert

Dr. Sieffert Discussing Alternatives To Buccal Fat Surgery

Can I Remove Buccal Fat Without Surgery?

Technically, no, you cannot remove buccal fat without surgery. However, you can reduce the fat underneath the skin with some nonsurgical procedures, while using other aesthetic treatments to highlight surrounding features. 

The following treatments have been used as alternatives to buccal fat surgery for patients looking for a more “sculpted” look for their cheeks:

Morpheus8 Skin Tightening 

Morpheus8 (or radiofrequency skin tightening) involves the use of fine surgical pins at various depths to create a controlled injury in the cheek. The radiofrequency waves melt underlying fat while stimulating collagen and elastin formation, resulting in a tighter, more “shaped” look. 


Cosmetic filler injections (like chin and jawline filler) can be used to create facial proportions that help balance the unique features of patients who aren’t looking for surgical intervention. 

Can Kybella Be Used To Reduce Buccal Fat?

Kybella is often described as a fat-emulsifying injectable that is popularly used under the chin and underarms. Some providers have used Kybella to dissolve buccal fat pads in an effort to slim and contour the face, but our surgeons advise against this practice because the material can potentially migrate to unwanted areas and damage surrounding nerves. 

Dr. Michelle Sieffert Author Photo 2

We Offer Safe Buccal Fat Removal In Columbus, Ohio 

Dr. Michelle Sieffert performs buccal fat removal procedures to help patients achieve the look they have always wanted. With an emphasis on safety and patient education, she has a wealth of experience performing a variety of successful facial surgeries, including rhinoplasty, facelifts and neck lifts.

Do you have additional questions about Columbus, Ohio Buccal Fat Removal? We invite you to learn more by contacting the Donaldson Plastic Surgery team!

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