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Buccal Fat Reduction

Buccal (pronounced BUCK-ull) fat reduction surgery removes excess fat from the cheeks to produce a more contoured and refined appearance.

A face with some fullness looks healthy and youthful. Excessive fullness, however, disrupts the harmony of the features and produces a "chipmunk cheek" effect that makes many people self-conscious.

Buccal fat reduction addresses this problem by removing excess fat from the cheeks to produce a more delicate, chiseled appearance.

Effective as this procedure is, however, it should not be undertaken without some thought for the future.

  • Most people's faces begin to thin as they reach their 30s, so the fullness that concerns you may disappear on its own.
  • If you choose to have buccal fat reduction performed before this natural slimming of the face occurs, you may find your face becoming too thin as you begin to age.

It is best to take a careful look at your genetics. Did your parents have overly plump faces when they were young? Did this plumpness persist once they reached their 30s and 40s? If so, you may have inherited their more rounded facial appearance. If not, having buccal fat reduction surgery while you are still young may leave you looking gaunt as you get older. This can be corrected but would require additional surgery.

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Get in touch. Talk to our helpful team or book a consultation with Mr Lucian Ion. Call 0207 486 7757

Buccal fat reduction consultation

During your consultation, your surgeon will take a complete medical history and inquire about any medications you are currently taking and whether you smoke. He will ask about your goals for the procedure, explain what you can expect and describe how the procedure will be performed.

You and your surgeon will also discuss the types of anaesthesia that can be used for the procedure and decide which is right for you.

What to expect from buccal fat reduction operation

Buccal fat reduction is most often performed as a day case using local anaesthesia coupled with sedation or a general anaesthetic.

After injecting a solution of Lidocaine, epinephrine and saline to numb the area and limit bleeding, your surgeon will make a small (2-4 cm long) incision between your cheek and gums near your second molar from the back. He will then press on the outside of your cheek to make the buccal fat protrude through the incision so he can tease it out a little at a time with surgical tweezers. Once an adequate amount has been removed he will close the incision, most often with dissolvable sutures.

Recovering after buccal fat reduction surgery

After your surgery you will need to sleep on two pillows to keep your head elevated for at least two weeks and take it easy for at least three.

During your recovery period there are several things you should expect:

  • You will have some discomfort, but this should be controlled by pain medication that will be prescribed for you. Should you experience excessive pain, redness or any other symptoms that seem abnormal you should contact your surgeon immediately. These symptoms could be signs of infection.
  • Bruising and swelling are normal after surgery and will subside in a matter of days or weeks. In most instances however, bruising and swelling is very limited from the beginning.
  • Because of the incision inside your mouth you may have to eat a restricted diet for a while. Your surgeon will tell you what foods you should avoid. You will also be instructed to rinse your mouth several times a day with an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • As your sutures are dissolvable, it will not be necessary to have them removed. Please resist the temptation to chew on the stitches you feel inside your cheek.
  • At your first follow-up meeting, usually a week after surgery, your surgeon will assess the healing of the wounds inside your mouth. Even though you should be feeling better by this time it is important to continue to take it easy, not bend over and not lift heavy objects. Contact sports should be avoided for at least six to eight weeks.
  • Your swelling will continue to subside for several weeks and as it does, your new, more defined facial structure will be revealed.
  • During this time you may notice a change in your smile or odd sensations like tingling, pulling, burning, hollowness, cold or sudden sharp pain. These feelings, which are related to the healing of the nerve branches in the area of the operation, usually subside within the first few weeks.
  • Numbness is also possible and, while it usually settles within the first few weeks, it may occasionally become a permanent issue. Other possible complications of buccal fat reduction include asymmetry, hematoma, seroma and infraorbital nerve and facial nerve buccal branch dysfunction.


Twilight with Local or General if required

Hospital stay
Day case

Removal of Stitches
Dissolvable stitches

Return to work
1 week

Full recovery
3 - 6 weeks

Patient testimonials

"Everyone thinks I look "well" and "younger", rather than knowing I've had something done. I'm so happy with the results and feel pretty and beautiful."

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Your choice

Is cosmetic surgery right for you? As a practice dedicated exclusively to cosmetic surgery and headed by a highly experienced surgeon, we have the expertise and understanding to help you answer that question wisely.

This web site is intended to be a helpful starting point. You'll find answers to frequently asked questions, descriptions of the various procedures offered, information about the consulting surgeon who directs the practice and more. If you have additional questions, please fill in the Contact Form to arrange a private consultation with Mr Lucian Ion.


Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Ltd and Mr Lucian Ion, FRCS (plast) have provided this cosmetic surgery website for informational purposes only. It is not intended for medical advice. For more information about cosmetic surgery in London, please contact Mr Lucian Ion for a cosmetic surgery consultation at our practice located in London, 129 Harley Street.