Buccal Fat Removal
in Houston TX

Buccal Fat Removal | Plastic Surgery Houston | David Altamira, M.D.

What Is Buccal Fat Removal?

A buccal fat removal is a facial procedure that is intended for the removal of fat in the cheeks. This procedure slightly thins out the face to define a person’s features more. Careful not to overdo it, having this done can make your cheekbones stand out and get rid of unnecessary fat in the cheek area.

Good Candidates For Buccal Fat Removal

People with naturally plump and full faces would benefit from this procedure. If an individual has a face that is too thin already, the procedure might not enhance them. Speaking with Dr. Altamira before the fat removal will determine if you are a good candidate or not.

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Benefits Of Buccal Fat Removal


The benefits a patient may see from the buccal fat removal include:

  • defined cheekbones
  • enhanced face shape
  • rejuvenated facial contours

Buccal Fat Removal Procedure

The buccal fat removal procedure can take up to an hour to perform as the surgeon wants it precisely done. The buccal fat pad is removed from the inside of the patient’s cheek creating a more sculpted and defined face. This really makes a difference for patients with a puffy or full-appearing face.

How should I prepare for the buccal fat removal procedure?

The most important aspect of successful buccal fat removal is finding a board-certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in the performance of this procedure. The process may seem straightforward but it is important to understand that removing buccal fat can have ramifications in the future. Not every person is a good candidate for this procedure. A thorough consultation in which the goals of surgery are discussed alongside the potential and limitations of buccal fat removal is vital to achieving a satisfactory outcome.

Buccal fat removal is an office procedure when performed by itself. It is minimally invasive and generally conservative. Still, the body needs to heal from incisions and the modification of tissue. Therefore, patients should stop smoking before undergoing buccal fat removal. For several days before the procedure, the consumption of alcohol and certain medications or supplements should be limited or stopped altogether. These issues are discussed during our consultation, allowing patients ample time to be fully prepared for optimal recovery from surgery.

How long does buccal fat removal take?

Buccal fat pad removal is a brief procedure. Working with the utmost care through incisions made on the inside of the cheek, Dr. Altamira removes the dense pads that fill out the lower face. The procedure may be performed with mild sedation as well as a local anesthetic to numb the cheek area. Dissolvable sutures are placed to close incisions and patients may go home shortly after their procedure is complete. If a sedative is administered, someone must drive the patient home.

The purpose of buccal fat removal is to improve the contours of the face. To achieve the best results, patients may combine cheek contouring with other procedures, such as a mid-face lift or augmentation of the cheekbones. Depending on the procedures being performed, the time and general procedural guidelines of surgery may change. For example, if buccal fat removal coincides with facelift surgery, Dr. Altamira may schedule the procedure to be done in an outpatient surgery center with general anesthesia. The particulars of surgery are discussed during our consultation and revisited during pre-op visits.

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What is the recovery process like?

The recovery from buccal fat removal is minimal. We suggest scheduling the procedure before the weekend or taking a few days off work to allow swelling to subside before resuming normal activities. If a sedative is administered during the procedure, patients may want to rest for the remainder of the day. Most patients experience very little discomfort after their minor surgery. Prescription pain medication is typically not necessary. If discomfort occurs, over-the-counter medication should sufficiently reduce it. The sutures that are inserted to close incision lines will dissolve over several days. In the meantime, it is important to avoid disrupting the stitches with the tongue. It can take a few days to get used to the sutures being there, but touching them should be strictly avoided. Once the swelling has subsided, the results of surgery become apparent. This can take 4 to 6 weeks.

Is buccal fat removal safe?

The anatomical structure of the lower face presents minimal risks for a skilled surgeon performing buccal fat removal. The procedure is generally considered safe when conducted by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Extreme care is taken to avoid natural structures such as salivary ducts and nerves. There are minor risks for nerve injury, bleeding, and infection. These are discussed during the consultation visit, along with any questions the patient has.

What are the buccal fat removal risks?

Side effects of buccal fat removal are typically limited to minor swelling and bruising. Patients may experience slight soreness or tenderness on the inside of the cheek. Numbness or tingling may also occur and are usually temporary.

Schedule A Consultation

If you want to learn more about buccal fat removal, to schedule a consultation, call 713-271-9000.