Physical Health, Wellness / Self-Care

What is buccal fat removal and do I need it?

Breaking down the latest TikTok and Instagram trend.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Apr 2, 2022

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people found themselves looking at their faces and sorting out what they like, don’t like, and can’t stand. Whether it’s under eye circles, nose shapes, acne scaring, or contouring, people have been deciding what they can do to combat such issues.


And with resources and finances, some people have gravitated towards a new buzzy procedure called buccal fat removal aka cheek contouring surgery. With 600,000+ buccal fat removal videos trending on social media, showing before and after photos of the amazing results for a chiseled jawline and face, the procedure is only gaining traction.


But what exactly is buccal fat removal, how does it work, what are the risks, the costs, and are there any side effects? Below, we’ll give you the rundown on buccal fat removal.


What is buccal fat removal?

Put simply, the buccal fat surgery removes fat from just below the cheekbone by creating an incision inside the mouth. The result is an emphasized, model-like cheekbone and jawline.


Is there an age requirement for buccal fat removal?

With the increased social media buzz, doctors and medical professionals are starting to worry about young consumers, like Gen Z and younger, who are interested in these surgeries. However, not all people are eligible for buccal fat removal.


If you have a full, roundish face and are close to stable weight, you are eligible to get the procedure. If you have an overly thin face, surgeons should suggest fillers, facelift, or liposuction. Or, nothing at all. Although there is no age requirement, doctors recommend young consumers think hard before considering the procedure. They usually approve of alternatives suggested if the patient doesn’t need it.


So which doctor should I consult?

Like all surgeries, be on the look out for a well-trained, experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon for buccal fat removals. The doctor should make you feel comfortable and bring up your aesthetic goals.


Additionally, they should include what you will look like post-surgery with before and after images. When you arrive to your appointment, your doctor will do a detailed medical exam on you, a facial analysis, and discuss the risks, benefits, alternatives, procedure, and cost. If you’re considered a good candidate, you’ll get scheduled for the procedure.


Is it bad for my body or face?

Although buccal fat removal is trending on social media through influencers and celebrities, the procedure has been around for over 60 years. It’s a surgery that has interested many generations aesthetic appetites. Doctors are trained to remove only a conservative amount from the buccal pad, and relocate the fat into the cheek’s apples without cutting the blood supply.


What happens in the procedure?

The professional does this surgery without removing and processing fat. An inexperienced surgeon however, could damage the fat duct that allows salivary glands to come into your mouth. Those glands help with facial nerves, like what makes us smile. Make sure you find a very good doctor before considering.


How much does it cost?

We should start by saying it is not an affordable treatment, with the average cost of $2,475, but the cost varies by the doctor’s office and location. In New York City, for example, costs can get up to $10,000 and more.


And don’t forget to read this before you get a cosmetic procedure.