A quick scan on Instagram and TikTok will show you celebrities and influencers that have enviably chiseled faces and sky-high cheekbones. While some can thank excellent genes, others thank plastic surgery. Buccal fat removal, AKA cheek surgery, is quickly gaining popularity, thanks to celebrities like Bella Hadid. According to Byrdie, the cosmetic procedure involves removing the fat in the mid-cheek area called buccal fat pads to reveal a more contoured and slimmer face. While every face is different and results vary, you can definitely expect more defined hollows under the cheekbones, just as you would see when you pucker your lips or whistle a happy tune.
For people who feel that their face is too round and want some definition, the procedure is straightforward. Once you're in anesthesia, an incision will be made inside your cheeks through your mouth. The surgeon will have to manually locate the buccal fads pads by feel then pop them out of the cheeks. It certainly sounds squeamish, but the procedure only takes around 30 minutes, and the swelling will go down in about two weeks. There will also be no visible scarring. The surgeon will give you a medicated mouthwash to prevent infection, and you'll have to go on a liquid diet for at least a week. However, you are free to do most of your usual activities the next day. Depending on your surgeon's expertise, location, and type of anesthesia, the procedure costs between $2000 to $5000. That can include the surgeon's fee, hospital or surgical facility costs, medicine prescriptions, and tests and x-rays.
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The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says that people with thin and narrow faces are not encouraged to undergo buccal fat surgery. The removal of existing fat may cause thin faces to look gaunt and more mature. The ideal candidates are patients between 20 to 40 years old who are physically healthy and at a stable weight and are nonsmokers. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Samuel J. Lin does advise patients to think about long term results. As we age, we tend to lose fat in the face, so signs of aging may be more visible. That's also why the surgery is not recommended for people above the age of 50.
As Byrdie reports, many surgeons also hesitate in performing the procedure on very young patients as facial volume and structure are still developing and changing. While some patients regret the procedure, many say that it's the best decision they have ever made and cite an increase in confidence and self-esteem. If you feel that your own confidence and self-esteem will get a huge boost with the surgery, go for it. That is, after all, the ultimate goal of any cosmetic procedure.
If you are keen on buccal fat removal, take note of your surgical goals and budget. List down any medical conditions, medical treatments, or drug allergies. Be prepared to discuss your current medications, vitamins, supplements, alcohol intake, and tobacco use. These are the typical questions your surgeon will ask, aside from discussing all your options for your procedure. As with any procedure, you may feel anxious or a little scared, so be sure to ask all the questions you have so you can feel at ease.
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