Cheek Reduction (Buccal Fat Removal)

Reducing 'chipmunk cheeks'

Last modified: November 29, 2011

Diane Boerstler
NLP Practitioner and Positive Behavior Support Specialist

Cheek Reduction Surgery (Buccal Fat Removal) Defined

A cheek reduction is the reduction in the overall proportion of the fatty part of the cheeks located underneath the cheek bones. The reduction of the excess fat beneath the cheek bones results in a slimmer overall facial appearance, and often adds to the definition in the cheek bones.

Patients who opt to experience cheek reduction generally participate in this procedure to improve their appearance because of their displeasure in the roundness, or broadness of their face. A cheek reduction is the overall reduction in the amount of buccal fat located between the cheek bones and the jaw line.

A cheek reduction is generally a reduction in the volume of fat located between the cheek bones and the jaw line. Patients may choose to have a the buccal fat removed from their cheeks in order to achieve a slimmer or more chiseled look, or even to boost their self-esteem when they look in the mirror. Cheek reduction falls under the realm of cosmetic surgery so consulting with an English-speaking board certified facial surgeon or top plastic surgeon is a paramount key to achieving the patients beauty goals.

A Good Candidate For Cheek Reduction (Buccal Fat Removal)

A good candidate for cheek reduction is any patient who desires to increase the gaunt look through the removal of buccal fat. 

Patients will need to undergo blood tests and a general physical exam prior to receiving a cheek reduction to ensure that there are no significant health factors that pose significant risks to surgery, or to their overall desired results.

Patients should consider how the removal of buccal fat experienced during a cheek reduction will affect them over time as well. As patients age they tend to achieve a more gaunt appearance, however some patients are genetically predisposed to having more robust cheeks throughout their life.

Patients should examine the faces of the elder relative with the closest related structure to determine how a check reduction will affect their appearance in later years.

Cheek Reduction (Buccal Fat Removal) Procedure

The board certified plastic surgeon will first run the appropriate blood tests and check for any abnormalities by performing a physical.  Patients are encouraged to disclose any prescription or non-prescription medication that they are taking prior to surgery to ensure that no changes need to be made to the level of anesthesia administered, and to determine if medications or nutraceuticals must be eliminated prior to surgery as they may effect long term results. Cheek reduction is a scheduled outpatient procedure. 

The patient will show up for their appointment, be placed under light anesthesia, and monitored for any drop in blood pressure or change in heart rate.  Patients can work with their plastic surgeons to determine alternative options to light anesthesia. A small incision will be made on the inside back of the patients cheek, by their upper molars, and the fat will be removed when the facial surgeon pushes it through the incision.  The entire procedure should take less than one hour.

Cheek Reduction (Buccal Fat Removal) Recovery

After surgery the patient will be monitored for less than one day as they awake from anesthesia. The patients sutures will be examined for any sign of infection and medications will be administered to reduce swelling. The plastic surgeon will discuss follow up procedures, and what the patient must do during recovery including sticking to a liquid diet and avoiding foods that might cause nausea post surgery.

The client is released once their vitals have returned to normal and it is believed that the majority of the anesthesia has exited their body.  Patients notice results within two weeks of the cheek reduction, although some will see results sooner as the swelling in their cheeks may reduce more quickly.

Risks And Side Effects Of Cheek Reduction (Buccal Fat Removal)

Risks and side effects of cheek reduction include tenderness around the area of incision, difficulty chewing, and the slight risk of infection.  Many patients experience nausea immediately after becoming coherent post surgery but it passes within a few hours.

Cost Of Cheek Reduction (Buccal Fat Removal)

Cheek reduction costs vary depending on the location of treatment, and the type of anesthesia used.  Costs can greatly increase if the patient opts to incur other types of facial surgery such as a face lift or a cheek implant as part of the cheek reduction procedures.  Please do contact a facial surgeon or plastic surgeon to gain more information on how a cheek reduction can benefit you.

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This article was written by the medical research team at does not intend for any of the information on this site to be regarded as medical advice - it is meant as a starting point for understanding treatment details and options before contacting a registered, licensed doctor. We advise all patients to seek medical advice from a doctor.
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