Cheek Reduction FAQs: Can Buccal Fat Come Back?

For both men and women, slim cheeks mean that all of your best features can take the spotlight. But for all that contouring make-up, diet, and exercise can do, there are some who are still baby faced no matter how much effort they put into slimming their cheeks. At Ideal Face and Body in Beverly Hills, CA we offer cheek reduction as a solution to slimming down your face and achieving a more mature appearance.

If you’ve never heard of a cheek reduction, then don’t worry. We believe in providing patients will all the information they need to make a fully informed decision about their health and that starts with this guideline of everything you need to know about cheek reductions. Our expert staff will be happy to answer any questions you have about this treatment when you call our office to schedule your initial consultation.

What Is a Cheek Reduction?

A cheek reduction, or a buccal lipectomy, is a surgical procedure in which the buccal fat pads in the cheeks are extracted or trimmed to reduce the appearance of a full face.

A full or round face can give the appearance of chubby cheeks or excess weight. Fuller cheeks can also create an immature appearance, which can be frustrating for some people. Reducing the size of your cheeks can give you a more chiseled and healthy-looking appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cheek Reduction

How Does Cheek Reduction Work?

Buccal fat removal extracts or reduces the size of the buccal fat pad that is in the cheeks. The method uses for this procedure includes making an incision inside the mouth to remove the fat pad from the inner cheeks, which eliminates the possibility of scarring.

This type of procedure is performed with general or local anesthesia and is considered a plastic surgery technique.

What Causes Buccal Fat?

Buccal fat is a naturally occurring pad of fat that is found between the hollows of cheeks. It’s supposed to be there and serves the purpose of cushioning the teeth and jaw. Buccal fat pads store the baby fat in the face that often starts to disappear at the onset of puberty.

However, for some, buccal fat does not greatly reduce in volume and persists well into adulthood, which creates the appearance of a “baby face”. The causes of persistent buccal fat can be narrowed down to two factors. The first factor is weight, where larger fat stores in the face have greater volume for those who have higher body mass. The second factor is genetics, which is the explanation that fits most people with buccal fat pads that stubbornly remain regardless of weight, diet, and exercise.

For those with persistent buccal fat caused by genetics, a cheek reduction is a valuable solution to a problem that cannot be solved by other methods.

Can Buccal Fat Come Back?

Buccal fat removal is a permanent solution to reducing the size of your cheeks. Once fat is removed in any area of the body, it does not come back, and that is true for buccal fat removal surgery as well. When the buccal fat pads are entirely removed, not even weight gain will make the pads return.

However, partial removal or other methods that remove the fat from the lower cheek region of the face can result in a return of buccal fat volume from weight gain. Buccal lipectomy is the only procedure that reduces the size of your cheeks for life.

Can This Procedure Be Combined?

Some patients find that a buccal lipectomy is only the first step in reaching their ideal appearance goals. It is possible you may be interested in other treatments at our clinic. Our staff will be glad to answer any questions about combining treatments at the time of your appointment.

The Cheek Reduction Process

By now you might be wondering what the exact process is like for buccal fat removal. Many patients are comforted to know what exactly they can expect from a treatment process. We have created an outline of what to expect from your initial appointment to your recovery and every step along the way.

Initial Appointment

Your first appointment will be a consultation that will help us determine if you are a candidate for a buccal lipectomy. We will examine your cheeks and ask about your appearance goals. Because this procedure involves anesthetics, we will also gather comprehensive medical information about you. We will ask about your general medical history, previous surgeries, current health issues, current medications, and any drug allergies you may have.

We may take photographs for reference in your medical file. The photographs will help us create a personalized treatment plan for you. We may also ask that you undergo certain lab tests and other medical evaluations intended to determine if general anesthesia is an option for your treatment.

It is possible we might determine that a buccal fat removal is not the right method for you and that other treatment options might be a better fit. We will help you explore other options that will suit your needs better.

Pre-Treatment Guidelines

At the time of your initial appointment, we may provide you with a list of pre-treatment guidelines. These guidelines are important to follow for your health and safety, especially if general anesthesia will be used for your procedure. Some pre-treatment guidelines include:

  • Avoiding alcohol and tobacco
  • Avoiding eating certain foods
  • Stop taking certain over-the-counter medications and supplements
  • Adjust your current medications with approval from a doctor

We may also ask that you arrange for transportation on the day of your appointment. If general anesthesia is part of your treatment plan, you will not be able to drive yourself home after the procedure. It is also possible that you will need to stay at the hospital overnight.

Step One: Anesthesia

The first step of a buccal lipectomy is administering the anesthesia. Most patients use general anesthesia, but some use a local anesthesia instead. A general anesthesia means you will be fully sedated for the duration of the procedure, while a local anesthesia is usually combined with other sedation techniques. We will determine which method of anesthesia is best for you.

Step Two: Incision

A buccal lipectomy involves creating an incision on the interior cheeks near the inside of the mouth. The incision is small: just large enough that the buccal pads can be removed. The method of removal is usually done similarly to liposuction, which is why the incision is so small.

The amount of buccal fat to be removed will be detailed in your treatment plan. Some patients have asymmetrical buccal fat pads that are balanced by the procedure, while others have a total removal of the buccal fat.

Step Three: Closing

The last step of a buccal lipectomy involves closing the incisions that are made on the inside of the mouth. Incisions of this type are generally closed with sutures, or small stitches, on the inner cheeks. Many stitches are made with absorbable or dissolving sutures similar to the ones used in dental surgeries, such as wisdom teeth extractions.

The type of stitches used will be determined by your surgeon at the time of the procedure.

Waking up from general or local anesthesia can be disorienting. You may be nauseous, dizzy, or confused. The staff at the surgery site will help you through immediate recovery from the anesthesia.

Post-Treatment Guidelines

After your procedure is complete, you will be provided with a list of post-treatment guidelines. It is important to follow these guidelines to ensure that you have the best recovery possible. Some of the post-treatment guidelines for a buccal lipectomy include:

  • Instructions on how to care for treatment site
  • Medications to take or apply
  • Avoid certain products, foods, and substances
  • Minimize speaking or moving the mouth
  • Stop taking or adjust certain medications or supplements

We will also schedule a follow-up appointment 3 to 7 days following your procedure to see how well you are healing.


Recovery from a buccal lipectomy is similiar to recovery from many dental surgery procedures. You will be advised to limit activity, avoid strenuous activity, and minimize talking for the first several days after the procedure.

We generally advise patients to stay at home until the majority of the swelling in your mouth has gone down, which is usually 1 to 2 weeks after the procedure.

Most patients are fully recovered 3 to 4 weeks following a buccal lipectomy. Soreness and swelling in the mouth are normal during this period of recovery. We may ask that you pay attention to specific concerns at the surgical site, such as bleeding. You will have multiple follow-up appointments after your procedure.

Can You Eat After a Cheek Reduction?

The first several days following your procedure, you will be limited to a liquid or semi-liquid diet. Liquid diets usually include tepid soups, smoothies, liquid yogurts, Jello, and other similar foods. The liquid diet is recommended for the first 3 to 5 days following the procedure. We may instruct you to remain on a liquid diet until your follow-up appointment.

You may begin eating semi-solid or soft foods, such as bananas or mashed potatoes, within 7 to 10 days following your procedure. After 10 days, you are usually healed enough to resume most of your normal diet, although we do advise that you avoid sharp or crunchy foods until at least 2 weeks following the procedure. Some patients find that chewing is difficult or uncomfortable until after 3 weeks when they are mostly recovered.


The results of this procedure will not be immediately apparent due to the post-procedure swelling. However, once swelling has gone down and you are mostly recovered, you will notice that your cheeks are much slimmer than before. Patients report having a more matured and sculpted appearance once they are healed from the procedure.

Ideal Candidates

Ideal candidates for this procedure are both men and women who are interested in reducing the size of their cheeks. After the medical screening, there are very few people who are not candidates for this procedure. Candidates for this treatment include those who:

  • Have chubby or “chipmunk” cheeks
  • Have a “baby face
  • Want to have defined cheekbone and jaw
  • Are ages 20 and older

Find Out More

If you think that a buccal lipectomy is right for you, contact Ideal Face and Body in Beverly Hills, CA to schedule your initial consultation. You deserve to look the way you want and love the way you look. We value the opportunity to have you as a client at our clinic.

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