cheek fat removal in NYC

Everything You Wanted to Know About Cheek Fat Removal in NYC

For patients with a “baby face” or otherwise chubby facial features, cheek fat removal in NYC is an option for achieving a slimmer, more contoured look. Buccal fat removal is not a procedure meant for everyone, however. 

As with most plastic surgeries, buccal surgery is not reversible. It’s important to consider all the ramifications that come with making a permanent cosmetic change. Even if buccal removal is trending on social media, it’s important to seek the advice of experts before going under the knife.

At Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery we are committed to helping our patients in NYC and around the world achieve the best versions of themselves. With today’s innovations in aesthetic procedures, taking control of your look and cosmetic health has never been more accessible. This accessibility is why we’re committed to educating our patients about the procedures available to them.

Cheek fat removal in NYC: the basics

What is cheek fat?

While that may seem like an obvious question, we’re actually talking about a very specific part of your facial anatomy. 

Buccal (pronounced “buckle”) fat exists between your cheek muscles and jaw bones, it’s what helps make up the shape of your face. Everyone has buccal fat, some people have more than others. It’s not caused by obesity, but can change with weight loss and typically changes with age as we get into our 30s. It causes those chubby cheeks that your grandmother and aunts pinch when you are little. 

Removing buccal fat, also known as a cheek reduction, is a procedure that slims the cheeks by removing the fat under the cheekbones. Reducing the buccal fat pad can result in sharper contours and more prominent cheekbones—the classic “super model” look that many of us are familiar with.

Cheek fat removal is a type of plastic surgery, and the decision to undergo this procedure is a personal one. 

Some benefits of buccal fat removal:

  • Sharper jawline
  • Enhanced cheekbones
  • No visible scarring
  • Minimal recovery

Who is a good candidate for cheek fat removal?

Not everyone is a qualified candidate for this niche procedure. Ideal candidates for buccal fat removal generally meet the following criteria:

  • Chubby cheeks caused by Excess buccal fat, not caused by obesity. This is located in the mid-face, below your cheekbones. 
  • In good physical and mental health
  • Don’t smoke or consume tobacco in any form, or are willing to stop prior to surgery
  • Have realistic expectations about the results

More than these things, it’s important to consider your age when you’re looking at buccal fat removal. 

Throughout your 20s your face shape is still changing and your buccal fat will start to decrease on its own as you get older. For this reason, Dr. Pearlman generally won’t perform this procedure for patients until their late 20’s.

If you opt for cheek fat removal too early, you could risk prematurely aging your face and issues with gauntness or skin laxity. You will end up back in our office in a few years for mid-face volume replacement with fillers. 

What to look for in a cheek fat removal plastic surgeon

When you’re considering cheek fat removal in NYC, or anywhere, it’s important to look for an experienced, qualified surgeon for your procedure.


A board-certified plastic surgeon has extensively trained and demonstrated safe, ethical practice for multiple years. When you’re considering facial plastic surgery it’s even more beneficial to find a doctor certified in that specialty.

Dr. Steven Pearlman is dual-board certified in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as otolaryngology (head and neck surgery). 

Consultation process

The consultation process isn’t just about checking boxes, it’s an opportunity to really get to know your surgeon. How you feel in the consultation process is the foundation of your surgery experience. You should be able to get your questions answered and feel like your surgeon has your best interest at heart.

With his extensive background, Dr. Pearlman provides his patients with distinctive experience and deep understanding of cosmetic surgery.


Looking at before and after images from your surgeon’s previous patients is an important part of the process. You’ll want to see if they’ve treated patients who have results similar to what you’re imagining for yourself.


See the Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery before and after gallery.

The process for cheek fat removal

Before your buccal surgery in NYC, you’ll meet with Dr. Pearlman for a consultation. During this time he’ll ask you questions about your general health, examine your facial anatomy, and make a recommendation on whether you’re a good candidate for buccal fat removal.

It’s important to make the most of your consultation and ask any questions you have about the procedure. This is also when we’ll take your before photos.

The Procedure

Cheek fat removal is an outpatient procedure that uses local anesthetic unless it’s being performed with a facelift or another procedure. If you’re having any anxiety or worry we can also give you some sedation.

Dr. Pearlman will make a small incision on the inside of each cheek in your mouth. Then, he’ll place pressure on the outside of the cheek to maneuver the unwanted buccal fat out through the incision. This excess fat is then removed. Once this is done, he’ll close the incisions with a few dissolvable sutures.


After your procedure you’ll be given a set of detailed aftercare instructions to help with your recovery period. Most patients are able to return to their normal activities within a day.

You can expect some swelling that should be manageable with medication. It’s possible that there may be some bruising, too. It will take about 1 week to feel completely back to normal.  Because the incisions are made inside your mouth, there will be no visible scarring on the face.

Results will improve over time as your body continues to heal. While you’ll be able to see the initial results immediately, the final results are usually visible after a few months.

Frequently asked questions about cheek fat removal in NYC

Is buccal fat removal permanent?

Buccal fat removal is permanent, once the fat is gone, it’s gone. That’s why it’s important to consider whether this surgery is the best option for your aesthetic goals.

Is there an ideal age for buccal fat removal?

At Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery, Dr. Pearlman doesn’t typically perform buccal surgery for patients much under the age of 30. Your face is still changing in your 20s and your buccal fat is naturally going to get smaller as you age. Removing it too early can cause premature aging or gauntness. 

What if I don’t like the results of my buccal surgery?

Dr. Pearlman works closely with his patients to ensure they’ll be happy with your results. However, if you had your surgery done elsewhere or just changed your mind a few years later, we can use strategic facial filler such as Sculptra injections to replace the lost volume.

Are there alternatives to buccal fat removal?

Buccal fat is usually resistant to diet and exercise but generally decreases with age. We can use facial fillers to add definition to your cheek above and jawbones below to provide a more contoured look, drawing attention away from your buccal fat.

Does buccal fat removal age you?

When done at the appropriate age and on an ideal candidate, buccal fat removal won’t age you. It will provide more defined cheekbones and a more contoured facial structure. If buccal fat is removed too early it can result in more skin laxity or gauntness as you age.

Can I get buccal fat removal at the same time as other procedures?

Yes! Buccal fat removal can be completed during other surgical procedures like a neck lift or facelift. It can be complimented well with lip fillers or facial fillers, too.

Considering cheek fat removal in NYC? Book your consultation with Dr. Pearlman.

Dr. Steven J Pearlman is a dual-board certified facial plastic surgeon in NYC. He can provide the guidance you want when working towards your aesthetic goals. Dr. Pearlman is committed to providing natural results that help you look and feel your best. It’s all about supporting your personal aesthetic vision with our expertise and insight.

At Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery, our entire ethos is founded on helping our patients harmonize the amazing person on the inside with the person they see in the mirror. That’s why we stay on top of the latest trends and techniques to better educate and serve all our patients. 

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