B uccal Fat Removal is a procedure that’s getting a lot of buzz lately. In this episode, I explain what a Buccal Fat Removal entails, as well as the recovery process. I also explain why Buccal Fat Removal is making a big comeback lately due to other advancements in the field of plastic surgery and facial rejuvenation. If you’re wondering whether you’re a good candidate for Buccal Fat Removal, don’t miss this episode of The Trillium Show!
In this episode, we cover:
Dr. Jason Hall, MD
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WHAT IS THE TRILLIUM SHOW WITH DR. JASON HALL?
The Trillium Show is a podcast about navigating change. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Hall discusses topics about health, wellness, and how to effectively manage change - in your body, in your mind, and in your life.
Dr. Hall: Welcome to The Trillium Show, where we help you make the changes you want to see in your body, in your mind, and in your life. I’m your host, Dr. Jason Hall.
Dr. Hall: Buccal fat and buccal fat removal is kind of having its day in the sun. And so, I want to sit and talk for a minute about what buccal fat and buccal lipectomy really is. So, your buccal fat pads are fat pads that live in your face, and they live in your cheeks, kind of underneath your cheekbones. Buccal fat that is overgrown tends to give patients a round kind of a chipmunk-cheek look that some people don’t like. So, by removing that buccal fat and contouring that buccal fat, we can thin the lower middle third of the face, emphasizing the cheekbones, giving a more sculpted appearance to the face.
Now, buccal fat removal is not for everybody. And there are certainly some patients that shouldn’t have their buccal fat removed at all. About 15 years ago, during my training, buccal fat removal was kind of a no-no because it tends to skeletonize somebody’s face and actually make you look older as time goes by. Because as we’ve kind of talked about in previous shows, volume loss is a key feature of aging and by removing volume when you’re young, you can actually make the aging process accelerate a little bit.
With the advent of fat grafting—and now that fat grafting is really become a part of almost every facial rejuvenation surgery that I do and that a lot of surgeons that focus their careers on facial rejuvenation surgery have added fat grafting back to their kind of armamentarium that they use almost every time—now that we have that—it works, it’s predictable—buccal fat removal has kind of come back into vogue. Because if we make you look good when you’re younger, we take away that chipmunk cheeks and kind of thin your face out, but then as time passes and you get too much volume loss in your face, we can add that volume back with fat grafting. That’s I think a big part of why buccal fat removal has kind of come back into vogue is because it’s correctable now if we don’t like the way it looks.
Who are the typical patients that get buccal fat removal? Typically they are young patients who have round faces that want to get a little bit more sculpted. Buccal fat removal can be done in the operating room, can be done in the office. It is not a terribly invasive procedure. It’s done through little incisions that are about a centimeter, centimeter-and-a-half long on the inside of your mouth, that fat is removed under either local anesthesia or general, depending on where we’re doing it.
Then you have a couple of tiny dissolving sutures that are on the inside of your mouth. And other than a little bit of swelling, nobody can really tell you’ve had anything done for a week or so. During the recovery process, I tell my patients, you want to eat soft foods. You don’t want things that are going to be tough to chew that could cause you to either bite on your incision line or they can get stuck in that incision. So, things like tortilla chips are a no-no; uncooked or firm rice is a no-no; things for any standard intraoral incision care, anything that you can’t smash between your thumb and your forefinger and make go away, you want to stay away from that for about a week. You also want to rinse your mouth out really well after you eat or drink anything for that first week after your procedure.
We talked about who a good candidate for surgery is. Who’s not a good candidate for buccal fat removal? Typically it is patients who don’t have the skin quality that is going to contract back. Buccal fat removal, very similar to liposuction or most other surgeries that we do in plastic surgery. That removing anything relies on your skin shrinking back down around your frame once we remove that.
So, if you have skin laxity, you have underlying SMAS muscle laxity—SMAS is that muscle layer in the face we tighten in a facelift—if there’s laxity there and we remove that buccal fat without tightening the things around it, then it’s going to make you look older and make you look worse. And certainly, there are patients who have insisted on having buccal fat removal that really need a facelift. They get their buccal fat removed and lo and behold, they need a facelift and a year or so later.
Those are really the key take-homes with buccal fat removal. It’s a great procedure if done in the right patients, simple outpatient procedure done in the office with local anesthesia for most people, and can really make a big difference in overall appearance, taking that round angelic cherub round-face look and making it more sculpted, which is a look that some people are going for these days. So, any other questions, please feel free to call me, hit me up in messages. Otherwise, we’ll talk to you soon.
Dr. Hall: Thanks for listening to The Trillium Show. You can keep up with the latest on the podcast at jhallmd.com. Be sure to follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you want to connect with us on social media, you can find us at @jhallmd on Instagram and Twitter and @DrHallPlasticSurgery on Facebook. Remember, be the change you wish to see in the world.
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