Many of the people who visit me for buccal fat removal in Orlando, FL, have been curious about cheek reduction from a young age. If you’re someone who struggles to slim down your “chipmunk cheeks” no matter how in shape you are, you probably understand why. Excess fat in the cheeks can keep our facial features from looking sharp and defined, giving us a perpetual “baby face” that may not reflect who we really are.
Buccal fat (also known as Bichat’s fat) removal offers a long-lasting solution—but how soon is too soon to have it done? And is there ever a point when it’s too late? Read on for answers to these questions and more about timing your buccal fat removal procedure.
What Is Buccal Fat?
The buccal fat pad is a walnut-sized pocket of fat between your cheekbone and jawline, near the masseter muscle. It gives the face a rounder, younger look and obscures the definition of the face. Because buccal fat is often genetic and resists diet and exercise, buccal fat removal (or lipectomy) is one of the most popular ways to address it.
How Does Buccal Fat Removal Work?
While liposuction can treat most pockets of fat in the body, buccal fat pads are best removed via direct excision. I will remove part of the pad through an incision hidden inside your cheek so there is no visible scarring. The surgery usually takes about an hour, and most people return to work and other activities within 3-5 days. I use dissolving sutures that disappear in about a week.
You can see examples of real buccal fat removal results in my before-and-after photo gallery.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Get Buccal Fat Removal?
You can have buccal fat removal done as soon as your features finish developing, which is typically in the late teens or early 20s. Removing buccal fat too early can affect the way your face looks once it finishes growing. Learn more about what makes an ideal buccal fat removal candidate in this earlier blog post.
How Old Is Too Old for Buccal Fat Removal?
You’re likely not too old for buccal fat removal as long as you can safely undergo surgery using general anesthesia. However, if you did not start noticing lower facial fat until your 40s and 50s, you may be experiencing normal downward tissue migration that happens during the aging process. If this is the case, a facelift may be a better solution for you. We’ll discuss both options at your consultation to decide on your best treatment plan.
Will Buccal Fat Removal Make Me Look Older?
For the right candidates, removing buccal fat will create a more mature and refined look and less of a “baby face.”
Because we continue to lose facial volume as we age, the key is not removing too much fat during the surgery. I only remove enough to create an age-appropriate contour that will not develop into a gaunt or sunken look as you age.
Treatments such as BOTOX® to the masseter muscles and filler to the jawline will continue to refine and contour the lower face.
Overall, most people are very happy with their results in both the short and long term. About 92% of real patients on RealSelf.com rated their results “worth it.”