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Buccal fat removal is being sought after by more young people as the surgical solution to achieving a cheeks-in, chiselled chin look.

Buccal – pronounced “buckle” – fat refers to the pad of fat lying beneath the cheekbones and above the jaw that gives the cheeks its structure and fullness. Removing the walnut-sized fat pads reduces the “chubbiness” of the cheeks in a bid to highlight the cheekbones and attain a more sculpted V-shape face.

But what exactly is buccal fat removal, and is it a suitable procedure for everyone? We give you the breakdown of everything “buccal fat” and share why you might give it a second thought.

What Does Buccal Mean?

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TikTok creator @melisekrem showing viewers how to create “model cheekbones”. Photo source: melisekrem/TikTok

Even though aesthetic treatments like dermal fillers typically add volume to the upper parts of the cheeks, the lower part of the cheeks, a.k.a the buccal fat area is usually the target for volume reduction – to reduce roundness in the face and gives a sharper V-shape appearance.

If you’re thinking of shedding your buccal fat like how you lose weight at the gym, it’s not possible. Buccal fat isn’t affected by how much weight you put on or take off, as what you have is what you’re born with.

The pad of fat does, however, change with age. It usually increases between ages 10 to 20, and then very gradually decreases as your entire face naturally loses fat over the years. In other words, you can’t do much to lose the buccal fat in your lower cheeks unless you’re keeping time.

What, Then, is Buccal Fat Removal?

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TikTok creator @ehlieluna doing a “buccal fat contour” as an alternative to surgery. Photo source: ehlieluna/TikTok

We’re making our firm stand that no one type of facial structure is better than the other! That said, the procedure could be an option for those who prefer a slimmer, chiselled face over a rounder, cherubic visage.

Buccal fat removal does exactly what its name suggests: it removes the buccal fat in the lower cheek area to emphasise the cheekbones and jawline, giving a more sculpted definition to the face.

The buccal fat is either completely removed or partially removed, and some aesthetic doctors also reposition (rather than remove) the fat to other areas of the face that have lost volume such as the upper cheeks.

Fully removing the fat pads might result in an overly hollowed and aged appearance, which is why other doctors choose to reduce and contour the fat pad instead.

What Happens During Buccal Fat Removal?

During the surgery, an incision is made on the inner wall of the mouth so that there are no visible scars. From there, the doctor can access the grape-sized buccal fat pad underneath the cheekbones, and fully or partially remove it.

After removing the fat pad, the doctor will close up the wound with sutures. The procedure is performed with local anaesthesia within as quickly as 30 minutes to an hour, and the patient can return home on the same day.

What is Recovery Like After the Procedure?

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Another contour method for achieving lifted cheeks. Photo source: melisekrem/TikTok

Buccal fat removal is an outpatient procedure, which means that patients can return home on the same day after the surgery.

You will likely be able to resume work as quickly as three days post-op, but you should still expect to experience swelling and possibly mild bruising for one to two weeks.

Doctors usually give patients an oral rinse and sometimes prescribe antibiotics to minimise the risk of infection at the incision sites.

Patients will have to eat only liquid foods for the first couple of days before adjusting to a soft food diet as they wait for the wounds to heal and the swelling to subside.

How Long Does Buccal Fat Removal Last?

Buccal fats do not grow back, so once you get them removed, they’ll be gone forever. The results of the procedure are permanent, but it’s worth noting that the surrounding fat cells can still expand if you gain a lot of weight.

Who is a Good Candidate?

It might seem like the procedure is ideal for anyone looking to slim down their cheeks and enjoy a sculpted V-shape appearance, but this procedure isn’t truly for everyone.

As facial fat naturally decreases with age, doctors don’t usually recommend for young people in their 20s to undergo the procedure.

Removing your facial “baby fat” in your 20s could cause your cheeks to look hollowed out by the time you reach your 30s or 40s – and even more over time.

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“Model cheekbones” is an ideal on TikTok. This look was created using a contour stick. Photo source: hayleybuix/TikTok

In fact, buccal fat can help to maintain a person’s cheeks’ plumpness as they grow older, and removing it might accelerate ageing in the face. Ironic if you have your buccal fat removed at a young age, only to seek fillers to plump up your cheeks in your 40s.

A possible candidate for the procedure is a person with naturally excessively “chubby” or “chipmunk” cheeks.

In this case, the procedure can alter the size of the fat pads to achieve a so-called “normal” volume in the face, still depending on the person’s aesthetic goals and the doctor’s analysis of the individual’s facial structure.

Where to Get Buccal Fat Removal in Singapore

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional diagnosis or medical advice.

Featured image credit: melisekrem/TikTok

Related read: 14 V-Shape Facials to Get a Defined Jawline Without Surgery