Plastic surgery is in many ways a form of art. As a sculptor can shape a stone or a piece of clay into a masterpiece, so can a plastic surgeon transform or enhance the human appearance. The right procedure performed by an expert surgeon has the power to dramatically change our lives in a positive way; the wrong choice (or wrong doctor) can have the opposite effect – so we must choose wisely! Some procedures can be widely successful, while others can be controversial and ridden with problems. Every time a new procedure comes about, we want to find out if it’s as incredible as it sounds or too good to be true. When it comes to our faces, is buccal fat pad removal worthy of it’s popularity? ELLE magazine sets out to find out.  

In recent years, buccal fat pad removal has become one of the most searched cosmetic procedures in the US. As more celebrities have spoken openly about undergoing this cheek-slimming surgery, namely model Chrissy Tiegen, it has subsequently become more mainstream. While not everyone is comfortable revealing what they’ve had done, there is speculation buccal fat pad removal is responsible for great many newly-slimmed famous faces. 

What precisely is this ‘buccal fat’ and what does this procedure entail? Dr. Konstantin Vasyukevich, a top New York double board-certified facial plastic surgeon explains, “the buccal fat pad is a pocket of fat that is located inside the cheek. Surgical removal of this fat helps to improve lower cheek contour making it appear slimmer.” Excess fat is removed from inside each cheek through a small incision, resulting in slimmer cheeks and an overall more defined facial shape. This procedure usually takes up to an hour to complete under local anesthesia, followed by a modest 7 to 10 day recovery period. The cost of this surgery can vary from $5,000 to $20,000. 

For optimal results, buccal fat pad removal should be performed by a facial plastic surgeon who specializes in facial rejuvenation. To avoid the risk of bleeding, nerve damage or an aesthetically unsatisfactory result when too much fat is removed, it is important to choose an experienced doctor. When doing your research, Dr. Konstantin recommends “looking at doctors training in facial surgery as well as a board certification such as American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.”

As intriguing as buccal fat pad removal may sound, it is not a one-size-fits-all procedure suitable for all facial structures nor is it a quick fix for deeper self-esteem issues. The results of this type of surgery are permanent and the long-term consequences are considerable. Removing fat in the cheeks also reduces facial volume and as Dr. Konstantin points out, “this might be beneficial for patients of younger demographics, but could lead to premature aging later in life.” Before proceeding with surgery, it is important to weigh the risks and have realistic expectations about what buccal fat pad removal can do for you. We only have one face in this life, let’s treat it as an exquisite work of art.

You can read the full article in ELLE. If you would like to know more about buccal fat pad removal or other facial rejuvenation procedures, we would be happy to see you for a consultation. Please call our Manhattan-based practice to schedule your appointment with New York’s top facial plastic surgeon and facelift expert, Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD.

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