Buccal fat removal isn’t necessarily a new thing, but there’s no doubt that the demand for this procedure has increased in recent years. On TikTok, you’ll find many clips of young women removing the fat from their “chubby” cheeks in order to attain a more chiseled and toned look. It’s evident that the Bella Hadid aesthetic – the sharp jawline, prominent cheekbones, and contoured face – has become the beauty standard, at least on social media and in Hollywood. Just take a look at all of these celebrities (who may have gotten it) and their before-and-afters!
Amelia Gray Hamlin
Pros and Cons of Buccal Fat Removal
As influencers and celebrities shift from their full cheeks to a more sculpted look, the more young women will be influenced to do the same. Still, is it worth it?
How It Works
Here’s what happens during the procedure: The surgeon will make an incision on both sides of your cheeks from the inside of the mouth to expose your buccal fat pads. They'll press on the fat pads to push them out so that they can be removed. Once that's done, the incisions are then closed with sutures. While this cosmetic "enhancement" doesn't sound as invasive as the infamous BBL or a boob job, it can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 in America. Though you might be happy with the results, there's no guarantee that you'll still be satisfied with it years later when you're older.
How Buccal Fat Removal Can Age You
As you inevitably age, your cheeks will slowly lose fat over time. This means if you underwent this procedure, say, in your 20s, you may look significantly older by the time you’re in your early 30s. The plump appearance in the face gives you a more youthful appearance, and this is the reason why older celebrities who want to maintain their image often go for fillers (I'm looking at you, Madonna).
Dallas surgeon Dr. Rod Rohrich suggests that fat compartments in the face do, indeed, diminish with age. He explains that “in most cases, you should not remove it [the fat in the cheeks] – except in the person with a really full face – because doing so can cause premature aging and midface distortion in the long term.” In fact, he insists that "fat in the face is precious," and it's the one area in the human body that you really don't want to lose too much.
Another board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Levine, advises against it. “If you’re talking about doing this surgery on a 25-year-old looking for that whistle look – I’d advise against that in almost all cases,” Dr. Levine explains, who worries about the said predictability of the outcome, both now and in the future. “When you’re taking out buccal fat, it can be hard to judge exactly how much to remove to create enough of a difference without making someone too gaunt.”
When he was asked about the young patients he's done the procedure on in the past, Dr. Levine said: “If you were to ask me if I’m worried about [how] those patients [will look] in 20 years… yeah, I guess I am.”
Cosmetic surgery seems to be an endless loop. We’ve seen this time and time again with celebrities – they change one thing, only to cosmetically modify another feature. It seems (at least within the entertainment industry) the focus has shifted from appreciating one’s natural beauty to completely altering it. The worst part is that many of these stars don’t disclose their procedures, leading young women to think that they themselves lost the genetic lottery. While I’m not demonizing cosmetic surgeries, I do believe that we need to focus more on building ourselves – and others – up by teaching them to see the good in the features they were born with, to accept and love themselves fully regardless of the ever-changing trends and societal “standards.”
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