Buccal Fat Removal: A Comprehensive Guide to the Cosmetic Procedure

Buccal Fat Removal

In recent times, the popularity of buccal fat removal, also known as bichectomy or bichectomia, has skyrocketed on social media platforms. This cosmetic procedure aims to remove excess fat from the cheek hollows, resulting in a more contoured and defined facial appearance. With millions of views on TikTok and widespread speculation about celebrity involvement, buccal fat removal has become a hot topic. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of buccal fat removal, its procedure, potential candidates, side effects, cost, and alternative options. If you're considering this cosmetic procedure, read on to discover what to expect.

What Is Buccal Fat Removal?

Buccal fat pads, which rest between the jawbones and cheekbones, contribute to the overall shape of the face. While everyone naturally possesses buccal fat, its size can vary, resulting in different facial appearances. Individuals seeking buccal fat removal often desire a more chiseled and less rounded face. This surgical procedure, also referred to as cheek reduction, aims to accentuate the contours of the jawbone and cheekbones, ultimately creating a more pronounced facial structure.

How Does Buccal Fat Removal Work?

Buccal fat removal is typically performed on an outpatient basis, utilizing local anesthesia to numb the facial area. General anesthesia is usually unnecessary unless additional complex procedures are being carried out simultaneously. During the procedure, a small incision is made on the inside of the mouth, allowing access to the buccal fat pads. By gently pressing on the pads, the surgeon exposes the fat tissue, making it easier to remove either a portion or the entirety of the buccal fat pads. Sutures are used to close the incision, which may be dissolvable or require subsequent removal.

Who Might Consider Buccal Fat Removal?

Ideal candidates for buccal fat removal should be in good overall health, have a stable weight, and be non-smokers. Individuals with rounder faces may achieve more natural-looking results compared to those with naturally thin faces. It is important to note that as individuals age, natural fat loss in the face occurs, making buccal fat removal less suitable for middle-aged and older adults. Additionally, it is not uncommon for patients who undergo buccal fat removal to seek injectable filler procedures later in life to restore volume to the treated area.

Potential Side Effects of Buccal Fat Removal

After buccal fat removal, patients may experience temporary side effects such as facial swelling, bruising, numbness at the incision sites, and changes in sensation. While most individuals heal within three weeks, it may take several months to see the final results. As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved, including infection at the incision site, facial nerve or salivary duct injury, numbness or sensation changes, and asymmetry. Any unusual symptoms should be promptly reported to a healthcare provider.

Buccal Fat Removal Cost

Buccal fat removal is typically not covered by insurance plans. The cost of the procedure varies depending on factors such as the surgeon's experience, facility fees, and location. On average, buccal fat removal can range from $5,000 to $20,000. It is advisable to consult with multiple board-certified plastic surgeons to find the best price and quality of care.

Alternatives to Buccal Fat Removal

Nonsurgical options exist for individuals seeking a more contoured face without undergoing buccal fat removal. Facial injections containing onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) or abobotulinumtoxinA (Dysport) can be viable alternatives. These injections, when administered by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon, target the masseter muscles along the cheeks and jawline, creating a more sculpted appearance. Another option is the use of hyaluronic acid facial fillers, which define the jawline and lift the cheeks, providing the illusion of fullness in that area. Compared to surgery, these nonsurgical alternatives carry minimal risks and can be an appealing choice for individuals seeking facial enhancements.

How to Find a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

To ensure a safe and effective buccal fat removal procedure, it is crucial to select a board-certified plastic surgeon with expertise in the field. Here are some essential steps to find a qualified professional:

  1. Research: Conduct thorough research online, looking for plastic surgeons who specialize in facial cosmetic procedures. Read reviews, check their qualifications, and assess their experience.
  2. Credentials: Verify that the surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or an equivalent reputable board. Certification ensures that the surgeon has met rigorous standards and possesses the necessary skills to perform the procedure.
  3. Consultations: Schedule consultations with multiple plastic surgeons to discuss your goals, expectations, and any concerns you may have. This will also allow you to assess the surgeon's communication style and establish a rapport.
  4. Ask Questions: During consultations, don't hesitate to ask questions about the surgeon's experience with buccal fat removal, their success rate, and the techniques they employ. Inquire about potential risks, complications, and the recovery process.
  5. Before and After Photos: Request to see before and after photos of previous patients who underwent buccal fat removal. This will give you an idea of the surgeon's aesthetic approach and the quality of their work.
  6. Patient Testimonials: Read testimonials or seek referrals from individuals who have undergone buccal fat removal with the surgeon you are considering. Their experiences can provide valuable insights into the surgeon's skill and professionalism.
  7. Facility Accreditation: Ensure that the surgical facility where the procedure will take place is accredited and equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Accreditation ensures adherence to strict safety standards.
  8. Trust Your Instincts: Ultimately, trust your instincts when selecting a surgeon. Choose someone with whom you feel comfortable, confident, and who listens to your concerns.


Buccal fat removal is a cosmetic procedure that can enhance facial contours and create a more defined appearance. It involves the removal of excess fat pads in the cheeks, resulting in a slimmer, chiseled jawline. 

While buccal fat removal carries its own risks and considerations, individuals seeking alternatives can explore nonsurgical options such as facial injections and fillers. It is crucial to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to ensure a safe and successful procedure. 

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can make an informed decision and embark on your journey toward achieving the desired facial aesthetic.

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