What Are Buccal Fat Pads?


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Buccal fat pads are responsible for “baby face” in children and young adults. As people get older, these pads tend to dissipate, and the face gets a narrower, sculpted look. But this is not the case for some people, whose fat pads remain with them for life and contribute to a chubby look. Genetics plays a key role in this occurrence, and many people seek to surgically reduce or remove them since it can cause a puffy appearance.

What Are Buccal Fat Pads and How Do They Affect My Face?

The buccal fat pads are rounded bits of fat, located deep in the hollow area beneath the cheekbones (in size, they are often compared to walnuts). While everyone has buccal fat pads, their sizes often vary depending on their facial shape. Those with larger fat pads may be more likely to feel like they have a “baby face.” The main reason why we have these fat pads is to provide a smooth plane for infants’ jaws during nursing.

Most peoples’ buccal fat pads naturally go away as they age, but some people can be stuck with the chipmunk look for life. Even with thin or slender bodies, these fat pads can create an overweight appearance, when they are not actually. Buccal fat pad reduction or removal are easy procedures that can drastically change the patient’s face shape, to a more chiseled and structured look.

What Can Be Done for My Cheek Fat?

Buccal fat removal and reduction are plastic surgeries that can be done to either completely remove the fat pads or reduce the excess fat. Facial liposuction does not work well on these fat pads, because of how deeply located in the cheeks they are. They are also obstructed by nerves and veins that could be damaged if liposuction is attempted.

Instead, the surgeon will create small incisions inside the mouth to get to the pads. Then, even smaller incisions will be made on the inside of the cheek. Generally, the buccal fat pad will just fall out. Using a radiofrequency device, the surgeon can then seal blood vessels, so the patient does not experience bleeding. Of course, this whole process will then be repeated on the opposite side, to address both cheeks. Before the procedure, the patient will be placed under either IV sedation, local anesthesia, or general anesthesia for maximum comfort.

The whole procedure usually takes around an hour, with each cheek needing 30 minutes. Before the actual surgery, during the initial consultation, the surgeon will talk with the patient and take into consideration their facial harmony, to determine the ideal amount of fat to remove. The end goal is to create a sculpted, structured appearance, without making the cheeks look hollow. Following the surgery, incisions will be closed with dissolvable sutures, that should dissipate within a week or two.

Buccal fat pad reduction has a quick recovery time, with most patients resuming their normal day-to-day activities within 3 to 5 days. Immediately following the surgery, patients typically experience some facial swelling and numbness in the mouth, though this varies by person. This can be easily treated with cold compresses and over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol.


  • Procedure boasts permanent results.
  • Quick procedure with a quick recovery time.
  • Can be performed in an outpatient setting.
  • Removal of “baby face” results in a slimmer, more adult-looking appearance.
  • Accentuates natural, youthful cheekbones that may have been obscured before.
  • Gets rid of the chubby cheeks and the chipmunk look that is associated with it.
  • Can boost the patient’s self-esteem.


  • Swelling can last for two weeks.
  • Extremely small risk of bruising and infection.

Commonly, the buccal fat pad reduction surgery is paired with other procedures to increase the overall facial aesthetics for many patients, and it is especially easier to accomplish now since we are all spending more time indoors. This makes it much simpler to hide any bruising, swelling, or other side effects of surgery. Usually, a facelift, a rhinoplasty, chin implants, lip augmentation, or BOTOX injections are done alongside this procedure, to address saggy cheek skin, improve how the middle section of the face looks, or create a more sculpted look.

If you are looking for the best buccal fat pad removal results, you must entrust your facial beauty to an expert. Look no further than Dr. Joseph Russell, a top South Carolina facial plastic surgeon, who has helped many patients find confidence in their appearance. Call (843) 576-3302 today to schedule a consultation and start on the path to being happy with your cheek shape.

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