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What can you do about “Chipmunk Cheeks”?

“While it is true that fat grafting to the face can be the fountain of youth, fat in the WRONG places are not flattering. In simple terms, the buccal lipectomy removes fat in the LOWER cheek region – just outside the corner of the mouth.”

Buccal lipectomy refers to the removal of fat in the cheeks to impart a more narrow, model-like face. It is also called cheek fat pad removal.

Excess fatty deposits in the cheeks can create the appearance of being overweight or make the cheeks look like they droop. Names like “chipmunk cheeks” or “baby face” have been coined to describe the full cheek appearance associated with excess buccal fat. Full, rounded cheeks can be reduced (and sucked in) and cheek bones better defined with buccal fat removal.

Unfortunately, because buccal fat is hereditary, it won’t change with weight loss.

With the popularity of social media and “selfies” men and women have been giving themselves virtual buccal lipectomies for years without even knowing it. The typical “pucker face” simulates the reduction of buccal fat. If you are reading this and you like your pucker face on Instagram or Facebook, you may like what the buccal lipectomy procedure can offer.

While it is true that fat grafting to the face can be the fountain of youth, fat in the WRONG places are not flattering. In simple terms, the buccal lipectomy removes fat in the LOWER cheek region – just outside the corner of the mouth. Buccal lipectomy is also called chipmunk cheek surgery because chipmunks, while cute, have fat around their mouth. Buccal fat removal is generally performed on patients with pudgy, round cheeks and often takes place simultaneously with a cheek enhancement surgery or liposuction of lower face and neck.
When the procedure is performed, it will create the illusion that one has lost weight. In fact, the buccal lipectomy procedure, as described by Dr. Neavin, is “a way to lose weight without losing weight.” Often, buccal lipectomy is combined with other procedures like chin augmentation, neck lift or neck liposuction, or facial fat grafting to enhance the results.

The procedure can be done while the patient is awake. There are no visible scars since the incisions are made inside the mouth. When fat grafting is combined, the cheekbone area (area just above the buccal area) is augmented with fat to create that very attractive shadow we see in the slimmer, more angular faces of men and women models.

During the procedure, Dr. Neavin will make a half-inch incision inside the mouth on both sides and remove a portion of the fat pad. Some fat is retained to avoid too sunken of an appearance. The amount to be removed must artfully be balanced to cheekbones.

The procedure is “out-patient”, meaning that the patient will go home the same day. While there is some swelling that may occur from the procedure, one can return to work the next day. Over the course of a few weeks the cheeks will suck in.