Buccal fat removal is a cosmetic procedure designed to remove the fat pads that augment the lower cheeks. Buccal fat is stored under the cheekbones, and can be removed in a quick and relatively painless procedure. Buccal fat removal is a popular procedure with women with so called chipmunk cheeks.
The operation involves a 2cm incision between the cheek and gums. The surgeon will locate the buccinator muscle, and gently press the buccal fat through the incision. Forceps will be used to gradually remove the fat. The procedure will take up to 90 minutes.
The patient's face will be swollen for the first 3 days, and the sutures will be removed after a week. It is advisable to take at least one week off work, and avoid physical sports for six weeks.
What to expect afterwards
Pain will be minimal but you may experience significant swelling in the cheek area. This can be addressed by applying ice packs to your face and by sleeping with an extra pillow under your head to reduce the swelling.
You will be required to follow a diet of soft foods for 48 hours after the procedure to allow the area to heal. It's also important to rinse your mouth with water to prevent food from infecting the incision sites.
Patients generally return to work one or two days after surgery. However, contact sports should be avoided for two months. Full recovery from the buccal procedure usually takes between two to three weeks.
The treatment may becarried out as a standalone procedure but is often used in combination with other facial surgery. Liposuction of the neck is perhaps the most popular such treatment as it addresses the excess fat below the face.
Risks and side effects
Complications with buccal fat removal are rare but, as with all cosmetic procedures, there are risks. The operation can leave you with excessive swelling or bruising, and there is the possibility of infection. Unsatisfactory results can also occur such as a lack of symmetry or a gaunt appearance.
You should contact your surgeon immediately if you experience bleeding, excessive pain or any signs of infection. The main symptoms of infection are excess pus or pooling of fluids, significant redness, and persistent pain.
Cost and prices
The price of Buccal Fat Removal in a UK private plastic surgery clinic is approximately £3000. If you choose to have the Buccal Fat Removal procedure abroad, you can pay as little as £1000. However, remember not all cosmetic clinics or plastic surgeons are the same. Some are better than others.
NHS, private or abroad
Buccal Fat Removal will not be possible on the NHS because there is no clinical reason for having the procedure. Buccal Fat Removal is available in a number of private plastic surgery clinics both in the UK and abroad.
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