Buccal Fat Restoration

Conveniently located to serve the areas of San Diego, CA

Buccal Fat Restoration

Buccal fat restoration for the cheeks is achievable with a relatively simple plastic surgery procedure. This is good news for the many patients who find themselves regretting their buccal fat pad (BFP) removal. Years before buccal fat removal was trending on social media, Dr. Steven R. Cohen developed an effective technique to restore cheek volume after age-related hollowing. Now, patients whose buccal fat removal was not a success have the option of taking advantage of this restorative procedure at his state-of-the-art plastic surgery center FACES+.

The size of the buccal fat pads are unique to each individual’s face. Patients choose buccal fat removal surgery to accentuate their cheekbones and slenderize their faces. Unfortunately, in some cases, patients are left with a gaunt, aged appearance, and are ultimately dissatisfied with the reflection they see in the mirror. Restoring this essential area of fat can rejuvenate a patient’s appearance while still giving them the sculpted results they originally desired.

Book a personal consultation at FACES+ in San Diego, and let master craniofacial surgeon Dr. Steven Cohen restore your former facial contours! Schedule your one-on-one appointment to discuss buccal fat pad restoration by calling (858) 453-7224 or by completing this simple form.

Before and After Photos

The Problem with Buccal Fat Removal

BFP removal is currently all the rage in Hollywood and beyond. We see the stars show off their latest looks on the red carpet in front of hundreds of flashing lights and cameras. We collectively marvel at how strikingly beautiful their outfits are, how exquisite their makeup is, and how chiseled and refined their faces appear. It’s only natural to want to emulate these celebrities, and for some patients, this includes their enviable facial features.

Trends in Facial Plastic Surgery 

Several younger, high-profile actors are rumored to have undergone buccal fat pad removal, including Amelia Gray Hamlin, Zoë Kravitz, and Lea Michele. However, as this trend in plastic surgery continues to spread, there is a growing percentage of unhappy non-celebrity patients.

The “defined cheekbone” look has cycled in and out of popularity over the years, and is currently having its moment once again. However, following this trend via a permanent procedure like buccal fat pad removal runs several risks

Some patients may not like their immediate results, while others will realize a few years down the line that their face is naturally hollowing over time. Disappointment and dissatisfaction can follow, as patients realize they are stuck with permanent alterations to their facial features they don’t like anymore, or never truly liked to begin with.

Unsatisfactory Results from BFP Removal

  • Gaunt appearance, too much fat removed
  • Exaggerated facial hollowing
  • Ages the faces of younger patients
  • May not suit certain face types
  • Can lead to “harsh”-looking features

Buccal fat pad removal can achieve striking results in the right patient. But what can we do for people for whom the procedure was not a success? And, why is it good for some and no-good for others?

Why Does Buccal Fat Removal Go Wrong?

Like any cosmetic procedure, certain patients will be better suited to buccal fat pad removal than others. According to surgeons, the ideal candidate. (1)

  • Has prominent zygomatic bones (cheekbones)
  • The cheekbones are masked due to pronounced cheeks
  • Does not have an existing angular appearance to the face 

The aim of BFP removal is to slenderize the outer contours of the face, highlight upper cheek fullness and accentuate their already pronounced cheekbones. However, not all bone structures lend themselves to this procedure. Certain patients, particularly those with malar hypoplasia (underdeveloped cheekbones) are not good candidates for this surgery, and buccal fat removal is typically not effective, nor is it advised by responsible surgeons. Patients can end up with a gaunt or aged appearance, and find themselves unhappy with the results.(1)

Buccal Fat Pad Replacement at FACES+

Restores Cheek Volume

When patients are dissatisfied with their BFP removal, corrective surgery to reverse their results can be just the thing to boost their confidence after a less-than-satisfying prior surgery.

Reverses Gaunt, Aged Appearance

Patients who want to restore volume to the cheeks may have noticed unwanted changes in their faces. If others have made comments that are less than complimentary about their results, knowing that others have a negative perception of their results is also a powerful incentive for patients to pursue a reversal.

Dr. Cohen’s Unique Technique

The buccal fat pad lies between the facial muscles and the tissue that lines the inside of our mouth. Dr. Cohen was the first to publish a paper to describe an effective buccal fat restoration technique that minimizes risks, and avoids extensive incisions. Other approaches were too invasive, and forced surgeons to access this deep-seated fat pad through the zygomatic arch from above, or intraorally from below, which was time-consuming and complex

After refining his unique method over the course of several years, Dr. Cohen now uses a unique, minimally invasive injection technique to restore buccal fat, helping patients feel happy with their facial aesthetic once more.

Letting Time Do the Work

As any facial plastic surgeon or dermatologist will tell you, our many facial fat pads change markedly over time. As we age, these isolated areas of fat can atrophy and descend, causing certain areas of the face to naturally hollow over time. Some patients may find they achieve precisely the look they want by getting buccal fat restoration and waiting a few years for nature to run its course!

No Dietary Restrictions

Dr. Cohen’s technique avoids extensive incisions. This means a short, comfortable recovery, and patients are only required to use a special mouthwash for aftercare. This means you will be able to eat what you like with no dietary restrictions after surgery!

Personal Consultation

As one of Newsweek’s Plastic Surgeons of 2022, Dr. Cohen is a facial plastic surgery specialist with many years of top-tier training, surgical expertise, and academic contributions to the field. As such, he is the perfect doctor to evaluate and advise patients on buccal fat pad restoration. You’ll have the opportunity to express precisely what is “wrong” with your features after your buccal fat pad reduction, and what you would like to achieve with a reversal surgery. It may be helpful to bring pictures of yourself before the surgery if you would like to closely replicate the same look. 

Once we have gathered some medical information from you, and you have discussed the procedure at length with Dr. Cohen, he will draw up your individualized treatment plan and schedule your surgery at FACES+.

Set up an in-person visit or a Zoom consultation at FACES+! Get started with booking your consultation by filling out this form or by calling our San Diego office directly at (858) 453-7224.


Before your procedure, we will give you a list of instructions to follow before and after your surgery. They will likely be very similar to the ones you were asked to follow for your previous procedure. In the days and hours before the surgery, we will ask you to take antibiotics to prevent infection during the healing process. 

After we have administered local or general anesthesia, Dr. Cohen can begin your transformation. The buccal fat pad removal surgery has several key stages, which are outlined below. (2)

  • Dr. Cohen harvests fat from another part of your body, such as the abdomen or thigh.
  • The fat is cleansed and emulsified until it is modified into a millifat graft (around 2.4 mm/0.09 in or less in size).
  • The mucosa, or lining of the mouth on the inner cheek, is numbed.
  • Dr. Cohen makes a tiny incision in the area where the inner cheek meets the gumline above the back molars and inserts a syringe filled with the prepared fat into the incision. 
  • He then carefully injects the fat into the buccal area until the desired contours are achieved, and then repeats the process on the opposite side of the face.

Corresponding & Complementary Procedures 

Facial Fat Grafting

Facial fat grafting is a specialty of Dr. Cohen’s, which includes procedures like buccal fat restoration. He uses precise fat preparation methods to produce three grades of fat grafts, which can be used in different areas of the face, helping patients get the facial aesthetic they desire.

Cheek Augmentation

If buccal fat pad removal was not successful for you, maybe it was the wrong surgery for your needs! If you have cheekbones that are lacking definition, or that are disproportionately small compared to your other features, speak to Dr. Cohen about a cheek augmentation procedure. Placing a small synthetic implant over the cheekbone can help achieve the lift and definition that you desire.

Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery is another way to balance the structure of the face. Some patients may wish to accentuate their jawline or correct their bite in order to enhance their facial contours. Dr. Cohen works closely with dental professionals such as orthodontists to achieve the best results.

Cost of Buccal Fat Pad Restoration in San Diego, CA

The cost of your surgery will be discussed following your personal consultation. To get the most accurate treatment plan to restore your buccal fat pad, call FACES+ at (858) 453-7224 or complete our simple form to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Cohen.

Don’t forget to catch up with the latest from Dr. Cohen on TikTok,  read his blog, and read his buccal fat pad removal opinion in Glamour Magazine!


Can I replace buccal fat after buccal fat removal surgery?

Yes! There are several techniques to do so. Speak to your surgeon about the methods they use to achieve fuller cheeks in patients, and ask them for specific advice at a personal consultation before booking your surgery.

What may have happened to Amelia Gray’s face?

Commentators speculate that Amelia Gray has had buccal fat pad removal and possible jawline contouring. Some people believe this has made her look considerably older than she actually is. Luckily, surgeons are able to reverse this procedure with buccal fat pad restoration, should a patient not like their new look.

Can buccal fat pad removal cause facial aging?

Many surgeons are of the opinion that buccal fat pad removal in the wrong surgical candidate can result in them looking older than they actually are.


  1. Davis B, Serra M. Buccal Fat Pad Reduction. PubMed. Published 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK576413/ 
  2. Cohen MD, FACS SR, Fireman MS4 E, Hewitt S, Saad A. Buccal Fat Pad Augmentation for Facial Rejuvenation. escholarshiporg. Published online 2017. Accessed February 8, 2023. https://escholarship.org/uc/item/2fz7k333