Dr. Patti Flint

Buccal Fat Removal and Other Fad Plastic Surgery

Buccal fat removal has been all the buzz lately, so let’s talk about why it’s a terrible idea and why I urge you not to even consider it.  It’s an irresponsible surgery, in my opinion. As doctors we should be helping our patients, first and foremost, not cashing in on trends.

Here are the facts:

Buccal is pronounced “buckle” and refers to a type of fat found in the middle of the face that, in some people, creates a rounded look in the cheeks. This is deeper fat that isn’t related to weight loss—it’s genetic. Removing that fat is meant to create more sculpted cheekbones, the opposite of the “chipmunk cheek” or “cherubic” look. Universal beauty standards do favor this look, with the golden ratio creating a more triangular face than a rounded or square one, so it isn’t surprising that some people would want to have a procedure like this.

So what’s wrong with having buccal fat reduction?

The problem with buccal fat removal is it’s a buy now, pay later procedure. By that I mean, if you have buccal fat removed in your twenties, you may enjoy those chiseled cheeks for a decade or so, but you’ll miss that extra facial fat in a big way as you age. Without it, your cheeks will be more sunken and you’ll look gaunt well before your time. And then you’ll be looking at more plastic surgery to correct it—if it’s even possible to correct.

If you have specific desires for your face, there’s a better way to address them. I prefer to talk to my patients about their concerns and make a plan that won’t steal today’s beauty from tomorrow. Dermal fillers, like Juvederm and Juvederm Voluma XC, for example, can create stunning results and bring your facial contours up to time-honored beauty standards without major surgery. They’re safer, less expensive, and reversible. (Yes, many people don’t realize I can inject a dissolver into the facial filler to reduce or undo its effects.)

Bottom line: don’t pay to have the fat taken out of your face; you’re going to need it later. There are other options.

Other procedures that have been in the news lately include the fox eye lift and dimpleplasty (creating a dimple where there once was none).

Fox Eye Lift

The fox eye thread lift is a procedure meant to achieve the mysterious, almond-shaped look embodied by celebrities like Bella Hadid. This is another “do not recommend” from me. My reasons can be summed up by a quick Google search that will reveal many unfortunate and unhappy patients who have had this procedure done to them and ended up with pain, terrible swelling, scarring, and/or asymmetrical results.

Dimple Surgery

Dimples are natural indentations in the cheek created by a small opening in the buccinator muscle. I’m not a fan of “dimple procedures” for a number of reasons. Firstly, it risks injury to the facial nerve, which can change your facial expressions. Other complications include too large or too small dimples, dimples located in the wrong place, or dimples that fade over time.

If you want to make changes to your appearance, let’s talk! There are safe, effective surgical and nonsurgical options available to help you achieve the look you want, and I’m happy to discuss them with you.

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