Buccal reduction surgery aims to deliver a more chiseled face by removing some portion of the fat deposit deep in the cheek, specifically between the corner of the mouth and the nostril.
Instead of removing or obliterating completely the buccal fat pad in the cheek region, leading Inland Empire plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley says reducing it only (i.e., leaving behind some fat) will ensure a natural result and prevent the “scrawny” appearance, which may appear soon after surgery or several years down the road.
Aside from going to the “conservative route,” Dr. Smiley says the success of buccal reduction surgery also relies on strict patient selection; hence, he only reserves this procedure for patients with full, round face who are near their ideal weight.
(Note: Overweight people can have “chipmunk” cheeks, which may deflate to some extent after losing the extra pounds. Meanwhile, some normal weight individuals have a markedly round face due to large buccal fat pad, a feature that is generally hereditary.)
And while there is no “magic number” when it comes to the ideal age for buccal reduction surgery, many surgeons recommend postponing it until one has reached her mid-twenties. It is important to note that aging causes facial volume loss and so the face will thin out naturally.
The caveat with having buccal reduction surgery before reaching the age of mid-twenties is the perceived increased risk of looking scrawny several years down the road. In fact, dermal filler injection is the most popular non-surgical facial rejuvenation in women between late thirties to early fifties.
Dr. Smiley has recently posted a series of Snapchat videos to demonstrate buccal fat reduction surgery combined with chin implant. He created a small incision inside the patient’s mouth (between the cheeks and gums) to expose the buccal fat. Then, he teased some of the fat out with forceps to remove it.
To achieve a more proportionate result (and a more chiseled facial contour), the patient had a simultaneous chin augmentation in which a short inconspicuous incision was made beneath her chin in order to position a small implant. The incision is expected to fade into an invisible scar after 6-12 months.