Dr. Chopra’s Simple Procedure That Gets Rid Of Chipmunk Cheeks

Dr. Karan Chopra has co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in highly regarded medical journals including Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery® , the official Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and has presented research at several national plastic surgery conferences throughout the United States. Awarded the Johns Hopkins Miller Coulson Award for Clinical Excellence, Dr. Chopra has mastered communication and interpersonal skills and is known for his exceptional patient care. Approaching each patient with individualized care, he's known for his genuine kindness and unparalleled bedside manner. His commitment to excellence in cosmetic surgery of the face, eyes, breast and body has led to his mastery of the facelift, eyelid lift, breast surgery, tummy-tuck, fat grafting, and injectables such as Botox, dermal fillers and more.

Haute Beauty sits down with Dr. Karan Chopra to learn more about the simple procedure to contour the face by removing the buccal fat pad.

buccal fat pad removalPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

HB:  What is the buccal fat pad?

Naturally occurring fat pockets enclosed within the cheeks on both sides of the face, buccal fat pads can cause an adult to have chubby, “chipmunk” cheeks. Typically larger during childhood, the fat pads usually shrink over time but can remain prominent on some well into adulthood. Whether due to genetics or weight gain, these fat pads can be resistant to diet and exercise and can cause the face to appear overly full.

HB: How does removing it, contour the face?

One of my favorite facial contouring procedures to perform is the removal of buccal fat pads to slim and sculpt, creating sought-after high cheekbones. A permanent procedure, the face is contoured into a balanced, youthful appearance.

HB: What is the buccal fat pad removal procedure like?

Performed from inside the mouth under local anesthetic, the procedure takes approximately 1 hour to complete and leaves no visible scarring. After the cheeks are numbed, a small half-inch incision is made within the mouth and the strategic amount of buccal fat is removed from both sides shaping the cheeks to create the patient's desired look. Like other oral surgeries, the incision is closed with absorbable sutures and most experience little to no discomfort throughout the entire experience.

HB: How can this procedure be combined with others for facial contour?

Buccal fat pad removal is usually combined with other facial rejuvenation procedures to improve the overall appearance. We offer it within a series of facial contouring procedures called the #SelfieLift and pair it with neck or chin liposuction, masseter reduction or jawline enhancement and chin augmentation. We perform an extensive evaluation of each patient and map out a personalized plan according to needs and goals that create the desired balanced look.

Dr. Karan ChopraPhoto Credit: Shutterstock
HB: What is the recovery like?

Following a Buccal Fat pad removal procedure, patients may experience facial swelling that naturally subsides within two to three weeks. Some may experience soreness for the first few days and are provided with oral pain medications to minimize discomfort and oral rinses to speed recovery and curb potential infection. Generally, the incisions and impacted tissue in the mouth heal within 10 days. During the first few days of recovery, a soft diet is recommended. Once swelling dissipates, the cheek area appears more chiseled and contoured. It can take a few months until the patient sees the full effects of the treatment.

HB: Who is a good candidate for buccal fat pad removal?

An ideal candidate for Buccal Fat removal aligns with the following:
- You dislike the prominence or fullness of your cheeks.
- The “chubbiness” that is disliked is positioned above the border of the mandible or jawline, and towards the front of the face
- You have a fuller, rounder face and prefer a more chiseled appearance.
- You are at a healthy weight and in good physical condition.
- You do not smoke.
- You have realistic expectations for the procedure.