Buccal Fat Removal 10 Years Later: Does The Recovery Hold Up?

A woman outside in the sunshine smiling with her hair pulled back and wearing a tank top.

While sculpted cheekbones have long been considered a hallmark of beauty, social media has created a frenzy of attention for that chiseled look. High on the trending list is buccal fat removal, a quick procedure that slims the lower face.

This procedure can create subtle yet significant improvements in facial contours, but how does it hold up over time? In this blog post, we’ll be looking at buccal fat removal 10 years later, as well as breaking down the recovery period and how to know if it’s right for you.

Before & After Cheek Liposuction Case 256 Front View in New York, NY
Buccal Fat Removal With Facial Contouring Before & After by Dr. Sterry in New York, NY
Before & After Facial Contouring Case 260 Left Oblique View in New York, NY
Buccal Fat Removal With Facial Contouring Before & After by Dr. Sterry in New York, NY
Before & After Facial Contouring Case 261 Left Oblique View in New York, NY
Buccal Fat Removal With Facial Contouring Before & After by Dr. Sterry in New York, NY
Before & After Cheek Liposuction Case 254 View #1 View in New York, NY
Buccal Fat Removal With Facial Contouring Before & After by Dr. Sterry in New York, NY

Why Do Patients Get Buccal Fat Removal?

First, let’s talk about the reasoning for this procedure. Patients who have not outgrown their “baby face” or who have naturally full lower cheeks may want to change their facial contours from round to V-shaped and defined.

Buccal fat removal targets an area that cheek liposuction cannot, although these procedures are often performed in tandem for more dramatic contouring.

Buccal Fat Removal Recovery Day by Day:

Patients can typically enjoy a relatively smooth and quick recovery process compared to more invasive surgeries. In most cases, you can return to work within a week, though the residual swelling will take a month or longer to dissipate fully.

Here’s an approximate timeline of what you can expect during recovery:

Day 1 to 3

Swelling and discomfort are common immediately after the procedure, but you can manage these aftereffects with prescribed pain medication and cold compresses. Take it slow, keep your head elevated, and maintain a soft diet to aid healing.

Day 4 to 7

The swelling has usually peaked by this point and is starting to go down, revealing the first glimpses of your sleeker facial contours. If you had any bruising, it should also be starting to fade.

Day 8 to 10

By this point, swelling and bruising will be steadily diminishing. You should be able to resume your normal diet and activities, though you should still avoid anything too strenuous. In most cases, you should be back at work and feel comfortable being seen in public.

Day 11 to 14

With the majority of swelling resolved, you can enjoy the initial results of your buccal fat removal procedure. Consult with your board-certified plastic surgeon about resuming exercise and lifting any activity restrictions.

Week 3 to 4

Your final results will emerge as the residual swelling resolves. Although minor fluctuations in swelling may persist, you should see a more defined and contoured facial appearance. The results are often described as subtle yet significant.

Aging After Buccal Fat Removal

Buccal fat removal yields impressive short-term results, but questions often arise regarding its long-term impact on aging. Contrary to popular belief, removing the buccal fat pads does not accelerate facial aging.

While patients do lose volume in the midface and cheekbone area as they age, the lower portion of the face (where the buccal fat is located) tends to remain stable and retain its contours.

Buccal Fat Removal After 10 Years

After a decade or longer, patients may notice subtle changes in facial volume and contour due to age-related changes. However, the effects of the procedure typically remain evident, and many patients report sustained satisfaction with their results.

Choosing a facial contouring expert plays a large part in long-term patient satisfaction. An experienced plastic surgeon’s technical skill and artistic eye ensure your results age gracefully and are in harmony with the natural aging process.

If skin laxity and volume loss in other areas of the face are becoming bothersome, you can also consider getting a facelift or dermal filler injections of JUVEDERM®, RADIESSE®, or Sculptra® to rejuvenate your appearance.

Is Buccal Fat Removal Worth It?

The answer to this question may be better phrased as “Is buccal fat removal right for me?” Not every patient who wants this procedure will be a good candidate, and the best plastic surgeons aren’t afraid to say “no” when it won’t deliver the results you want.

As one woman who visited my practice for a consultation wrote in her testimonial:

“Dr Sterry said he didn’t see anything wrong with my chin or face. I honestly gave him opportunities to upsell me and he simply didn’t take them … I actually respect that the doctor cares more about having good results / doing good work rather than following my will (considering I don’t have a professionals eye). …”

-Carly P., 5-star Google review

You can read more about my approach to facial sculpting in our related blog post to understand how I combine procedures and why I am discerning regarding patient candidacy.

Buccal Fat Removal and Patient Satisfaction

Those who have done their homework on what to expect and how their face may change over time often express the highest satisfaction rates.

“I went to Dr. Sterry for buccal fat removal and chin lipo … He knows exactly what he’s doing, and I’m so, so happy I went to him. … “

-Ryan S., 5-star Google review

In contrast, those who pursue buccal fat removal for its popularity without understanding their options tend to express regret. Ultimately, your satisfaction comes down to your surgeon’s expertise, your facial anatomy, and factors such as:

    • How informed you are about the procedure
    • How realistic your expectations are
    • Why you are interested in buccal fat removal in the first place

    When performed by a qualified, board-certified facial plastic surgeon, this procedure can yield natural-looking results that withstand the test of time. If you would like to explore your options for facial contouring, please request a consultation or call our plastic surgery office at (212) 249-4020 to get started.

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