ABC7’s The More in the Morning team spoke with Dr. Michael K. Kim, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, to discuss Buccal Fat Removal, who might be a good candidate and how social media and "selfies" are making more American's insecure with their jawline appearance.
A common beauty goal is to mimic a fashion model look. Models tend to have high cheekbones and narrow sculpted cheeks. Makeup artists spend a lot of time contouring or demonstrating on social media how to contour under the cheekbones for this sculpted look. However, not everyone can attain this angular appearance naturally, which is why many are turning to plastic surgery to remove their "buccal fat," located in the lower cheek and jaw area.
What is Buccal Fat?
Buccal fat refers to the natural fat tissues in the midface and lower face, responsible for the rounded soft jaw shape. Functionally, it serves as a cushion between two of the chewing muscles: the buccinator and masseter muscles. The size of the buccal fat pad varies with each individual patient, and the buccal fat pad in each cheek may be different sizes. Buccal fat pad extraction surgery is typically not performed in people with thin, narrow faces as removal of the fat may cause the face to look gaunter with age.
Removing it through surgery, which takes approximately one hour, is purely cosmetic, resulting in a slimmer, more chiseled appearance for many. A surgeon will create a small incision inside the cheek, below the saliva duct… for the buccal fat pad to be gently teased out into the mouth.
The cost for this minimally invasive surgery can range from $3,000 to $10,000.
Who might be a good candidate for Buccal Fat Removal?
Social media is a large driver of its sudden popularity, as more and more users are documenting their experience and results – without properly warning about the dangers and caveats of a permanent procedure. The obsession with creating a "narrower, slimmer silhouette" may also stem from "selfie culture," in which people are constantly staring at a distorted reflection of the way they look.
In general, you may be a good buccal fat removal candidate if:
- You are physically healthy and at a stable weight
- You have realistic expectations
- You are a nonsmoker
- You are bothered by the appearance of your chubby cheeks
If you're considering surgery, spend some time reviewing buccal fat removal surgery photos and learning about what to expect during recovery. Preparation ahead of time helps patients have reasonable expectations and a smoother recovery.