San Francisco Cheek Surgery Basics

Buccal (Cheek) Excision—Cheek Surgery Basics

Buccal fat pad excision, or cheek reduction surgery, is for those individuals whose cheeks have an extra full or round appearance. Those possessing excess buccal fat may describe themselves as prone to “chubby cheeks” or “chipmunk cheeks.”

Despite regular exercise and a proper diet, some individuals may find the appearance of their cheeks unaltered, giving a look that appears inconsistent with the rest of the body. The amount of cheek fat present in each individual can vary widely. Sometimes excessively round cheeks can be attributed to an overweight state, genetic predisposition, or both.

Cheek reduction surgery corrects excessively large cheeks, which frequently produce a deceptively heavy appearance. Formally known as buccal excision, the procedure involves removing fat pads located inside the cheeks. In this section, you will discover:

  • What you can realistically expect from cheek reduction surgery.
  • Whether you’re a candidate for cheek reduction surgery.
  • How cheek reduction surgery is performed.

Once you’ve reviewed the benefits and details associated with cheek reduction surgery, you’ll want to set up a consultation visit with Dr. Mosser in his office or in one of his San Francisco plastic surgery locations to discuss your specific goals.

In this relaxed environment, he will be able to explain to you:

  • Whether or not cheek reduction makes sense for you.
  • The alternatives for meeting your specific goals.
  • The step-by-step procedure that you will undergo.
  • The outcome you can reasonably expect along with risks and possible complications of cheek reduction surgery.

The Best Candidates for Cheek Reduction Surgery

Cheek reduction surgery can be performed conveniently for anyone in the Bay area. Buccal excision is best suited to men and women over the age of 25 who have healthy facial tissue and muscles, especially those who have a genetic predisposition to fuller cheeks. In arriving at realistic goals for your cheek reduction surgery, you should also take into account several key questions:

  • Do your parents, grandparents, or other family members also have full cheeks?
  • Have you recently had dental surgery?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Do you suffer from cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure?
  • Do you have an under-active or over-active thyroid?
  • Do you suffer from Graves’ disease?
  • Are you a nonsmoker?
  • Do you have any medical conditions that could impair healing from surgery?
  • Are you committed to proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, including moderate amounts of physical exercise?
  • Can you fully disclose your health history to Dr. Mosser, including current medications, your use of vitamin and herbal supplements, as well as your use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs?

Surgery Specifics—What You Can Expect from Buccal Excision

Dr. Mosser performs buccal excision in several locations in San Francisco. Plastic surgery procedures may be scheduled for his office at 450 Sutter in Union Square, as well as California Pacific Medical Center, and St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco.

The specific surgery you will undergo depends on the unique characteristics of your face, realistic goals that you and Dr. Mosser have agreed on, and the specific conditions you want to correct.

For those undergoing buccal fat excision, Dr. Mosser reduces the amount of such fat within the cheeks using a safe and reliable technique with small incisions inside the mouth. The incisions, roughly half an inch in length, are made across from the molar teeth through the buccinator muscle.

By pressing on the outside of the cheek, Dr. Mosser then pulls out the fat pad with the aid of forceps. For some, the amount of fat removed is equivalent to a golf ball; for others, the amount is less. The procedure takes about one hour and results are permanent.

It is important to distinguish buccal fat excision from liposuction. While both procedures seek to remove excess fat, buccal fat excision involves removing a specific fat pad located deep inside the cheek. Liposuction, on the other hand, can be applied to multiple areas of the body, such as the abdomen, thighs, and neck.

In fact, it is common for patients to combine buccal excision with submental liposuction (liposuction involving the neck and jowls) to produce a more defined and chiseled facial appearance. For some patients, removal of the fat pad in combination with liposuction can give a newly delineated jawline that enhances the facial structure and cheekbones.

Post Cheek Surgery Recuperation

Immediately following cheek reduction surgery, compresses may be applied to reduce swelling. Before you are released, Dr. Mosser will explain:

  • How to care for your cheeks.
  • Medications to take orally in order to reduce pain and the risk of infection.
  • How to monitor the surgical site for specific problems.

You may be groggy for the first day or two from the anesthetic and/or pain medications. You will also need to sleep with your head elevated with two pillows or a foam wedge for however long Dr. Mosser suggests, probably around one week.

Your face will become swollen for the first three days following your procedure; however, the swelling will resolve within a few weeks. You may notice tingling, pulling, burning, or cold sensations at first, but these too diminish over a few weeks. You can return to most normal activities within several days of cheek reduction surgery.

Your diet may be restricted for several weeks due to the incisions placed inside the mouth. Be sure to avoid any acidic foods and ensure that all foods are properly cleansed to diminish the risk of infection. You may need to rinse with an antiseptic solution several times a day to ensure the surgical site remains free of bacteria.

Sutures will be removed 7-10 days following the procedure, depending on your healing progress. You should not participate in any strenuous physical activity until cleared by Dr. Mosser.