Many patients seek a change to the shape or volume of their cheek area, alone or in combination with other aesthetic enhancements. In some cases, there is extra fat in the cheeks despite a shapely face overall. These patients complain of “chubby cheeks” or a “baby face” and suffer from an unaesthetic width of the mid-cheek area relative to other features. This may be related to an over-developed or overly prominent buccal fat compartment (Bichat’s fat pad). In such patients, the fat of the cheek can be reduced by a procedure called buccal fat extraction (cheek reduction surgery).
Cheek reduction can be performed under local or with light sedation and may accompany other cosmetic procedures (such as rhinoplasty). In some cases, buccal fat removal can be performed with placement of cheek implants implants to make a more significant change in the facial contour. All incisions are hidden in the mouth, so there are no external scars! With a subtle decrease in the width and fullness of the submalar region (the part of the cheek next to the mouth), significant improvements in the harmony between facial areas can be achieved.
Who is a candidate?
Anyone who desires a slimmer face, with decreased projection or fullness in the middle cheek area may be a candidate for buccal fat reduction. The only contraindications would be previous surgery in the cheek region or of the parotid gland. The key to any facial surgery is identifying the most appropriate procedures to achieve the greatest aesthetic enhancement, while still looking natural. Dr. Ransom will work closely with you throughout this process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I like some parts of the shape of my face, but not the full and “chubby” appearance of my cheeks. Will buccal fat reduction change the shape of my face?
A: Yes, though the results are subtle and natural-appearing. Depending on how slim you want your face to look, the amount of fat removed can be varied. There is, however, a limited amount of fat in the buccal area and fat from other parts of the midface cannot be removed safely. Dr. Ransom works closely with all of his patients to select the best procedure or combination of procedures to meet their aesthetic goals. More information about facial contouring is available during your consultation.
Q: If I decide later in life that I want a fuller face, can the fat be replaced?
A: Yes, cheek fat can be augmented later in life by facial fat grafting (micro-lipoinjection). Though this request is uncommon, fat can be added to the middle cheek area after harvesting fat cells from the abdomen or other areas of the body. Please see the procedure page for facial fat grafting for more information. Dr. Ransom can discuss the details of all facial contouring procedures during your consultation.