Buccal Fat Removal (Cheek Reduction)

Buccal fat removal is a surgery that thins the cheeks by removing facial fat. The goal of this procedure is to remove the fat stored in the cheek hollows and thereby enhance your cheekbones and the contours of the jawline and face. It is popular with people who have a “baby face", chubby cheeks” or “chipmunk cheeks”. A single treatment thins the face permanently without visible scarring. The cost to have it done ranges between $1500-$7,500 depending on various patient-specific factors.

Buccal Fat Removal (Cheek Reduction) Overview - 984

The Skinny

What is Buccal Fat Removal?

Buccal fat removal surgeries remove excess buccal fat pad which is located in the lower cheek areas. Many people refer to this procedure as “cheek reduction”.

Large buccal fat deposits cause the lower face to have a more rounded, “chubby” appearance. Removing this fat results in a more sculpted facial shape, particularly noted in the jawline.

Many people lose their buccal fat pads with age and therefore do not need this procedure. However, others never lose it naturally. For them, this facial rejuvenation surgery can enhance appearance, increase confidence, and contribute to a more enjoyable life.

Unwanted buccal fat deposits affect the look of the entire lower jawline area, including the nasolabial folds that run from each side of the nose to the corners of the mouth. These folds are responsible for our “smile lines”. Large buccal fat pads can worsen the appearance of these facial lines.

Removing the buccal fat pad reduces facial fullness that causes childlike, puffy cheeks. This quick outpatient procedure typically takes less than an hour to complete and provides permanent facial thinning in a single visit.

For many people, holding excess fat stores in the lower cheeks is a hereditary condition. Unlike most other fat stores in the body, the buccal fat pad cannot be effectively reduced by exercise or diet. Otherwise slender people might appear to be overweight because of large buccal fat deposits.


Before & After Images by Provider

Buccal Fat Removal Before, Female 36 - 3176Buccal Fat Removal After, Female 36 - 3176
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Buccal Fat Removal Before, Female 36 - 3178Buccal Fat Removal After, Female 36 - 3178
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Buccal Fat Removal Before, Female 47 - 4327Buccal Fat Removal After, Female 47 - 4327
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Buccal Fat Removal Before, Male 45 - 4082Buccal Fat Removal After, Male 45 - 4082
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The Specifics

Benefits of Buccal Fat Removal

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, buccal fat removal benefits include:

  • A safe and effective procedure
  • Typically only requires local anesthesia
  • Enhances the contours of the lower and upper cheek areas
  • Permanent results in a single 1-hour office visit
  • Does not leave visible scars

Ideal Candidates for Buccal Fat Removal

A cheek reduction surgery is highly customized to the individual patient. This safe procedure can be suitable for any healthy adult with chubby cheeks. A consultation with the surgeon will determine if you are an eligible candidate. However, in general, you should:

  • Be physically healthy
  • Be close to your ideal weight
  • Not smoke tobacco products
  • Have realistic expectations about what the procedure can do

Before scheduling a consultation appointment for buccal fat removal, take some time to research the procedure, look at before and after pictures of previous patients, and be sure you understand what to expect during the surgery.

This safe cosmetic procedure is also suitable for those who have lost a lot of weight but are still concerned about the full appearances of their faces.

Both women and men who are concerned about the chubbiness of their faces are suitable for buccal fat pad removal.

Who Should Avoid this Procedure?

You should not consider buccal fat pad removal if you have any serious health problems, have unstable body weight or are obese, or have a thin, narrow facial structure. This procedure can cause narrow faces to look gaunt, especially with increased age.

Buccal Fat Removal Cost

The average cost for buccal fat removal ranges between $1500-$5000. The actual price for your procedure will vary based on the costs of:

  • Operational costs associated with the clinic or facility
  • Fee for a board certified plastic surgeon
  • Fee for anesthesia
  • X Rays or other medical tests needed before the procedure
  • Any prescriptions needed afterward

To learn more about the factors that influence the price, check out complete guide to buccal fat removal cost.

Buccal Fat Removal Safety

Your doctor will explain all risks associated with buccal fat pad removal during your initial consultation appointment. While this procedure is generally safe and most patients experience no serious or lasting side effects, the following are possible:

Anesthesia risks, asymmetry, bleeding, cardiac/pulmonary complications, deep vein thrombosis, facial muscle weakness, facial nerve injury, infection, hematoma, or numbness. Persistent pain, poor healing, prolonged inflammation, salivary duct injury, and seroma (fluid retention) are also possible.

It is important for you to understand these possible side effects and discuss them with your plastic surgeon before receiving this generally safe procedure.

Remember that some degree of inflammation and pain should be expected immediately after this or any other surgical procedure.

Preparing for Buccal Fat Removal

The first step is to schedule a consultation appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon to determine your eligibility. During the consultation, the doctor will examine your facial structure, take a close look at your medical history, and explain the details of the procedure to you.

Be sure to ask the doctor any questions that are on your mind and get the clear answers you need. Other things to do while preparing are:

  • Do not drink or eat for at least 6 hours before the surgery.
  • Refrain from using aspirin or other blood-thinning substance for at least 2 weeks prior.
  • If you smoke, stop at least 4 weeks before surgery.
  • Do not consume alcohol for at least 2 days before the procedure.

Buccal Fat Removal Procedure

The buccal fat removal surgery is a quick and painless procedure that is typically completed within one hour. The entire procedure is performed inside the mouth. No cuts or incisions are made on the face. Typically, the procedure is performed as follows:

  • Local anesthesia is administered to numb the procedure area.
  • An intravenous (IV) sedative is used to reduce preoperational anxiety.
  • A small intraoral (inside mouth) incision is made in the inner portion of each cheek near the 2nd upper molars.
  • Buccinator muscles in the cheeks are cut to allow room to work in the mouth.
  • The surgeon then applies pressure from the outside to squeeze the buccal fat through the small incisions.
  • The incisions are then sutured, typically with dissolvable stitches.
  • Buccal fat removal surgery can be performed in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures to further enhance facial rejuvenation.

General anesthesia may be used in these cases depending on the extent of the procedure being performed and the comfort level of the patient.

Buccal Fat Removal Recovery Time

Most people recover from this procedure quickly with only mild-to-moderate swelling and pain.

Make sure to have someone available to drive you home after the procedure as you will still be affected by the anesthesia and sedatives you received.

This surgery causes little downtime in most patients. Many people who have it done can return to work the day after the procedure. Of course, this may not apply to those with highly-physical jobs.

Most patients report an almost-pain-free experience with buccal fat pad removal. After 5-7 days, you can return to all normal activities. Buccal fat removal provides instant results that can be immediately seen after the procedure. However, full results will be visible only after enough time for the swelling and redness to subside.

Although many people heal nicely within one week afterward, some people need up to 4 months to fully heal from it.

In very rare cases, more than one surgery may be required to achieve desired results.

The Takeaway


Buccal fat removal surgeries are typically safe and effective for enhancing facial appearance by removing fat stores held in the lower and upper cheeks.

This outpatient cosmetic surgery procedure is performed by making small incisions on the inside of the cheeks. It is a fast procedure that typically requires less than one hour to complete.

Many people assert that recovering from buccal fat removal is almost pain-free. Most people experience no serious or permanent side effects from having it done.

Recovering after the surgery typically takes only about one week but can take several months in some patients. The cost for a cheek reduction surgery varies between $1500-$5000 ion average.

Many individuals seeking to thin their chubby cheeks find great success with buccal fat removal. Whether you desire a slimmer facial profile after significant weight loss or are genetically disposed to fuller cheeks, talk to a board certified plastic surgeon about this cosmetic facial rejuvenation procedure.

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Source List


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  1. Y Jeblaoui, N Guedj, S Drikes, and C Vacher The Chin Fat Pad PubMed.gov; 2012-03-12
  2. Paul Cohen, Bruce M Spiegelman Cell Biology of Fat Storage PubMed.gov; 2016-08-15


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