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How to Fix Chubby Cheeks: Surgical and Non-Surgical Options

Authored by Dr. Karan Chopra

If you have a round face, you most likely don’t like posing in front of a camera because your face appears bigger through the lens. Also, you have probably tried all sorts of makeup contouring techniques, yet none were too successful. Chubby cheeks can’t really be fixed unless you undergo a cosmetic procedure or surgery. Fortunately, the surgical procedure for chubby cheeks is not even that invasive. Dr. Karan Chopra, our skilled plastic surgeon, can reshape and slim your face by performing buccal fat pad removal in Minneapolis.

Are Chubby Cheeks Unattractive?

While having chubby cheeks is relatively fine when young, they can become a problem as you age. Aging causes chubby cheeks to become saggy, and this type of appearance is not at all desirable for many people. There’s nothing wrong with having some fat on the cheeks. On the contrary, this look is attractive if the face is not disproportionate and the expressiveness of the eyes is still beautifully revealed.

Some celebrities, such as Renee Zellweger, Kim Kardashian, and Selena Gomez, used to have chubby cheeks. However, since their body seems to look the same — especially in Kim Kardashian’s case — they likely have opted for one of the different fat pad reduction procedures. Skinny people can have chubby cheeks, too, as some individuals might tend to put on fat in their face first.

Lastly, don’t mistake a puffy face for having chubby cheeks. How your face looks first thing in the morning doesn’t reveal your actual facial shape. For example, you might have had a tiring day before going to bed, and thus, woke up with a puffy face.

Buccal Fat Reduction for Chubby Cheeks

Also called buccal fat removal, the buccal fat reduction surgery eliminates the fat between your jawbones and cheeks. After the procedure, your face becomes more contoured so you no longer have fat cheeks. The procedure involves surgically removing your cheeks’ buccal fat to slim your face and redefine the facial contour. Your surgeon can also accompany your buccal fat reduction surgery with other procedures, such as a facelift, chin implants, lip augmentation, BOTOX® Cosmetic, or even a rhinoplasty.

Are You a Good Candidate for Buccal Fat Reduction Surgery?

If you are unhappy with how your cheeks make your face look, you can talk to a plastic surgeon to help. The criteria for surgery are that you’re not a smoker, your weight is within normal ranges, you have a round face, and you’re healthy enough to undergo surgery. The procedure involves getting local anesthesia first. The anesthesia doesn’t cause discomfort, and the procedure will continue while you are awake.

However, in some cases, you might need or prefer general anesthesia, so ask someone to come and pick you up after the surgery. After the anesthesia is administered, Dr. Chopra will make incisions on the inside of your cheeks and put some pressure from the outside to expose more of the buccal fat pad. The next step is precisely sculpting the excess fat and removing it. In the end, your surgeon will close the incision with one or two dissolvable sutures.

What Should You Expect After Buccal Fat Reduction?

Although it’s relatively non-invasive, buccal fat reduction can still cause mild swelling. Pain is rare, but you should expect to feel slight discomfort in the operated area too. In addition, your cheeks can be puffier and look swollen for about three days after the procedure.

However, most of the swelling, discomfort, and bruising will be gone after seven days. Note that you will be able to notice the changes only ten days after the procedure, as the area needs to heal properly. The final results of your procedure are usually fully visible about three months after surgery.

Does the Effect of Buccal Fat Reduction Last Long?

Buccal fat reduction surgery is regarded as a long-lasting procedure. However, your cheeks may become plump if you gain weight after the procedure.

Does Buccal Fat Reduction Surgery Cause Any Side Effects?

Before you decide to undergo a buccal fat reduction surgery, Dr. Chopra will discuss the risks and possible side effects of this procedure. Some of the possible side effects of buccal fat reduction surgery can include: 

However, you might only experience these side effects if complications occur during surgery.

Is It Expensive to Get Buccal Fat Reduction Surgery?

The cost of buccal fat pad reduction surgery can vary according to how experienced your surgeon is, the surgical facility where you get the procedure, the surgeon’s fee, and the price for the anesthesia.

Don’t compromise your procedure’s success for lower costs. Always choose the surgeon with significant training and experience, as well as a good reputation to get the best results possible. 

Is Cheek Liposuction the Same as Buccal Fat Reduction?

Cheek liposuction usually takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour, and requires the use of special liposuction equipment. This type of cheek fat reduction technique is considered a surgical treatment. It involves the surgeon making small incisions into the cheeks for the liposuction cannula to remove the excess fat.

After cheek liposuction, you might experience swelling and soreness around the cheeks. However, these effects will be gone in a few days if you stick to the medication your surgeon prescribes. Recovery from a cheek liposuction procedure should only take a few weeks. However, wearing a support garment on your cheeks is usually necessary during this time. The results will be a contoured face and reduced fat in your cheeks. You should be able to notice changes soon after surgery and the final results are often visible after a month.

Are There Any Non-Surgical Options to Get Rid of Chubby Cheeks?

If surgery doesn’t appeal to you, you can always opt for dermal fillers and BOTOX® Cosmetic to make your face appear slimmer and get rid of those chubby cheeks that don’t allow you to smile properly. Dermal fillers are not used only for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. Many surgeons recommend them for changing the facial shape as well. For example, reducing the fat in your cheeks with dermal fillers is less invasive. However, it involves injections that can shape your face and give the impression that you have a more pronounced cheekbone.

What Does the Filler Procedure Involve and How Long Do Results Last?

The filler procedure only takes 15 to 30 minutes. In addition, the discomfort it causes is minimal because the surgeon uses fine needles to reshape your cheeks. After injecting the fillers, the surgeon will put an ice pack on the treated area. You will notice results immediately after the procedure. If you have decided that you want your surgeon to inject Botox to reshape your cheeks, expect 10 to 14 days to pass until you see results.

You won’t need extra time for recovery; the effect could last for up to a year, depending on the substance used. Some minor side effects of fillers and BOTOX® Cosmetic include redness, mild discomfort, or swelling. Like buccal fat reduction and cheek liposuction, always choose a certified plastic surgeon to have fillers or BOTOX® Cosmetic injected in or around your cheeks.

Can You Reduce Chubby Cheeks without Surgery?

While surgery options remain the most effective ways to obtain a slimmer face, you could also change your lifestyle to get rid of fat cheeks or chipmunk cheeks:

In general, weight loss has a slimming effect on the whole body, including the face. In addition, aerobic exercise, sometimes called cardio exercise, can lead to weight loss. You can perform cardio at low, moderate, or high intensity. According to research, performing higher intensity aerobic exercises several times a week promotes additional fat burn. Overall, weight loss might slim down the face.

2.Facial Exercises
There is some evidence that exercising your facial muscles can help you lose facial fat. Facial muscles can become toned and strengthened by exercising facial muscles. However, whether these activities also help you lose facial fat is unclear. No studies examine the relationship between facial exercise and reduced facial fat. That said, facial exercises can make the face appear firmer if someone loses weight.

3.Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
Dehydration from excessive alcohol consumption can cause the body to retain water. This can sometimes lead to water retention on the face, which can make a face appear bloated and puffy. Moreover, alcohol consumption can also lead to weight gain. This is because it contains empty calories that have no nutritional value. Excessive consumption of empty calories increases your daily calorie consumption. Therefore, it promotes weight gain, which can also lead to chubby cheeks.

4.Sleep Well
If you can’t sleep well at night, you can gain weight more rapidly because your metabolism slows down. Aim to sleep better!

5.Reduce Sodium in Your Diet
Try as much as possible to avoid foods containing sodium. Don’t put that much salt in your meals because sodium might cause your face to become puffy. The foods that contain a high amount of sodium are usually highly processed foods, such as frozen pizza, sausages, bacon, and ham.

6.Give Up Refined Carbs As Much As You Can
Just like alcohol, foods that contain refined carbs are only empty calories that make you fat and, thus, cause your cheeks to become chubby.

FAQs About Chubby Cheeks & Buccal Fat Pad Removal Surgery

Who is a good candidate for surgery to treat chubby cheeks?

Since aging naturally makes a face appear thinner, people with thin, narrow faces are not the best candidates for cheek fat removal. The best candidates for buccal fat reduction are non-smokers concerned about the appearance of their chubby cheeks. For one of the aforementioned procedures, you must be physically healthy and have reasonable expectations. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Chopra if you are interested in slimming down your face.

What is in cheek fillers?

Hyaluronic acid, a component of dermal fillers, provides a defined volume beneath the skin’s surface. Facial rejuvenation with fillers doesn’t remove fat or volume from the face. This is what liposuction accomplishes.

Can only women have surgery for fat cheeks?

No. Men can contact a plastic surgeon to fix their chubby cheeks if they want to. The procedures mentioned above are available for both men and women.

Further Reading About Facial Procedures With Dr. Chopra

Medical References About Chubby Cheeks & Buccal Fat Pad Removal

This blog has been authored by “Dr. Joe” Gryskiewicz MD, FACS and Karan Chopra, MD.

About Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz:

Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 30 years of experience performing aesthetic surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and belongs to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Aesthetic Society, The Rhinoplasty Society, and many other national institutions.

About Dr. Karan Chopra:

Dr. Karan Chopra is a board-certified and fellowship-trained plastic surgeon who specializes in the deep plane facelift and neck lift, blepharoplasty, buccal fat removal, breast augmentation, and many other aesthetic procedures. He belongs to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Aesthetic Society, and The Minnesota Society of Plastic Surgeons, among many other professional organizations.