Buccal fat removal for jowls: While this surgery is not primarily intended to address sagging jowls, it can help achieve a more contoured and sculpted appearance in the cheek area.
In this article, we'll cover:
Buccal fat is a small-rounded fat pad located on each side of your lower cheeks. It's found deep beneath the skin, close to your mouth.
These fat pads give your cheeks a full, rounded and sometimes a youthful appearance.
The amount of buccal fat can vary from person to person and can affect the shape of your face.
Some people may have more buccal fat, resulting in fuller, rounded, or puffier, (think chipmunk cheeks). While others may have less, leading to a slimmer looking face.
The proper term for buccal fat excision or cheek reduction is called Bichectomy. It's a cosmetic procedure that removes the small fat pads located in the lower cheeks, between the cheekbones and jawline.
How is it done:
A surgeon makes tiny incisions inside the cheek and carefully cuts out a portion of the buccal fat pads from each cheek.
The patient is given local anesthesia and is usually awake during the procedure. However, it can be uncomfortable because the anesthesia does not fully number the inside of the cheek.
What Does It Do?
The original purpose was to help reduce excess fullness, puffy or "chipmunk" cheeks. Creating a more contoured, slimmer appearance in the mid-face area. And for some face shapes, it can highlight cheekbones and jawlines.
It works best on those with excessively chubby or rounded cheeks who desire a more defined cheekbones and jawline.
If done on the wrong person or the surgeon is too aggressive and removed too much fat, it can cause a gaunt, aging appearance.
However, it's become a trendy cosmetic procedure amongst celebrities (who may not have issues with puffy cheeks) seeking to achieve a more chiseled and sculpted look.
No, buccal fat does not grow back once it's been surgically removed. That's why it's important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of this procedure.
Facial fat changes naturally as we age, and fluctuations in weight can also impact how your face will appear in the future.
Some people mistakenly believe that treating chubby cheeks can also fix sagging jowls because both issues affect the lower part of the face.
However, excess buccal fat and the development of jowls are two diffe things.
Excessively chubby cheeks:
It's easy to see why these two facial issues can cause confusion. Both cause excessive facial fullness. However, large fat pads in the cheeks creates fullness in the mid-face area.
On the other hand, jowls (due to loose, sagging skin) cause fullness in the lower face area, around the jawline, chin, and neck.
There is some controversy over this very popular cheek reduction surgery. Some plastic surgeons feel that since these fat pads have no impact on the support of the overall face, it should not cause an aged look.
And, some even feel that leaving the fat pads in place will, over time, pull down the mid-face area, leading to signs of aging.
Other surgeons disagree.
According to an article in Plasticsurgery.org, facial fat is precious, and it's what gives the face a youthful appearance.
Buccal fat remains relatively stable throughout life. But facial fat atrophies with age. So removing buccal fat may look good when you're 20 and have plenty of facial fat.
But, when you're older (40s, 50s, and 60s) and your normal facial fat pads begin to shrink, you may look gaunt or prematurely aged.
Bichectomy Gone Wrong?
According to Dr. Gary Linkov, a NYC double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, the buccal fat pad is connected to very important parts of your face and mouth, such as:
Side effects include:
The cost of buccal fat pad removal can vary based on several factors, including:
The average cost of buccal fat pad removal can range from $2,000 to $5,000 or more.
For obvious reasons, people with narrow or very thin faces are not candidates for this surgery.
Also, most older people are not considered good candidates for several reasons:
1. Loss of Facial Fat Pads: As people age, facial fat naturally shrinks and shifts. So the area around the upper face and cheeks thins out or become hollowed. Removing buccal fat pads will only result in a more gaunt or hollowed-out appearance.
2. Skin Elasticity: With age, skin becomes less firm and looses elasticity. Removing facial fat will likely make the skin sag even more, making one look older.
Final Point: The face keeps changing as we grow older. So removing fat may seem like a good idea when we're young. But it's important to remember that facial fat is your friend and can help prevent you from looking saggy and gaunt.
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