The buccal fat pad is a collection of fat in the middle of the cheek, lying between muscles involved with chewing and facial movement. Loss of volume to the buccal fat pad is a common and natural occurrence over time. However, in some patients, a significant amount of fat can remain, with the excessive fat resulting in a rounded face.

What can buccal fat pad removal achieve?

Buccal fat pad removal is aimed at providing a more contoured cheek appearance. The procedure is not recommended for patients with very thin or narrow faces, as removing the buccal fat pad can cause their faces to look gaunter and older.

Who are candidates for buccal fat pad removal?

  • Young patients aged 20 – 50 years
  • Patients who wish to address overly large cheeks
  • Patients who desire a more prominent cheek bone appearance


The surgical procedure can be performed under local anaesthetic, but some patients may prefer general anaesthetic or sedation. In order to prevent visible scarring, the incisions required for the procedure are made inside the mouth, along the upper gum line.  

Once the incisions are made, Dr Thomas will then enter the pocket of fat, delicately teasing out the fat through gentle external pressure on the cheek. Dissolvable sutures will be used, which will be absorbed by the body naturally during the healing process.

What to expect after buccal fat pad removal

Recovery after buccal fat pad removal surgery typically involves a multi-step process, with different stages that patients will need to navigate to ensure a successful and smooth recovery. 

Here is a detailed recovery timeline for buccal fat pad removal surgery:

Day 1-2:

Immediately after surgery, patients can expect to feel some discomfort and pain in the treated area. Swelling and bruising are also common, and patients may experience some bleeding or oozing from the incisions. Patients should rest as much as possible during this period and avoid any strenuous activities.

Days 3-5:

By the third day, swelling and bruising should start to subside. However, patients may still experience some pain and discomfort, and they should continue to rest and avoid any strenuous activities. Patients may also be advised to use ice packs or other cold compresses to help reduce swelling and ease discomfort.

Days 6-10:

By this stage, patients may start to feel better and more comfortable. Swelling and bruising should continue to subside, and patients may be able to resume some light activities. Patients should still avoid any strenuous activities or activities that could impact the treated area.

Days 11-14:

At this point, most patients will have fully recovered and will be able to resume their normal activities. Patients may still experience some mild swelling or bruising, but these should continue to improve over time.

Week 2-3:

During this period, patients should continue to monitor their recovery and follow any post-operative instructions provided by their surgeon. Patients may also have a follow-up appointment with their surgeon to ensure that their recovery is progressing as expected.

Week 4-6:

By this stage, most patients will have fully recovered from their buccal fat pad removal surgery. Any residual swelling or bruising should have subsided, and patients should be able to resume all normal activities, including exercise and physical activity.

Potential Buccal Fat Removal Risks

Deciding to undergo buccal fat removal surgery is a highly personal choice that should be based on whether the potential benefits align with your goals and whether you are willing to accept the risks and possible complications.

Your plastic surgeon and/or their staff will provide a detailed explanation of the risks involved in the surgery. You will also be asked to sign consent forms, indicating your full understanding of the procedure and the potential risks.

Potential risks associated with buccal fat removal surgery include, but are not limited to:

  • Anaesthesia risks
  • Asymmetry
  • Bleeding
  • Cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Fluid accumulation 
  • Hematoma
  • Infection
  • Injury to salivary ducts
  • Facial muscle weakness 
  • Numbness or other changes in sensation
  • Persistent pain
  • Poor healing of incisions
  • Possibility of revisional surgery
  • Prolonged swelling
  • Suboptimal aesthetic result

Buccal Fat Removal Results

You can expect to see the majority of your final results around four to six weeks. The results from this treatment are generally considered permanent, but can be changed by external factors like weight fluctuation.

To ensure that the results of your buccal fat removal last as long as possible, follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully and attend follow-up appointments as directed. Additionally, a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise and avoiding smoking can help you maintain the results of your buccal fat removal  over time.

A Note on Results

The results of any medical treatment, aesthetic or otherwise, will affect patients differently based on various individual, genetic, environmental, diet, exercise and other factors. For that reason, you should always expect to see some variance between the results featured and the results you can achieve. What works for one person may not work for another, and each patient’s unique needs and expectations must be considered when determining the best course of action.

Therefore, it is essential to have a thorough consultation with a qualified and experienced medical professional who can help to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on your specific circumstances. It is also important to understand that buccal fat removal is not a quick fix and requires patience and commitment to achieve the desired results.

Buccal fat pad removal is a lasting procedure for adult patients looking to address excessive fullness in the cheeks. To discover if this procedure may be right for you, contact Dr Thomas at the Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery on 03 9034 7738.

Procedure Info

Dr Damon Thomas is dedicated to continuously improve the quality of medical and surgical procedures and creating new standards of innovation. His area of expertise are focused primarily in paediatric hand, adult hand, microsurgery, reconstructive surgery, and all other aspects of aesthetic and cosmetic surgery. In addition to surgical treatments, non-surgical cosmetic options are offered as well, including injectable treatments and skin rejuvenation.

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