From Plump Cheeks to Chiseled Features: The Risks and Rewards of Buccal Fat Removal

NEWS - Have you noticed something mysteriously different about your favorite celebrities on Instagram? Are they looking slimmer, sharper, and more defined in the face?

Cropped shot of young caucasian woman before and after plastic surgery buccal fat pad

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You're not alone in your observation, as more and more stars are transforming into Hollywood's version of the beloved character, Handsome Squidward. But what's behind this sudden shift in appearance?

What is Buccal Fat Removal?

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In a nutshell, Buccal Fat Removal is a procedure wherein the fat pads on your cheek are surgically removed to give you a gaunt, hollowed, and slim face.

Removing buccal fat will give you a more "sophisticated" and "high fashion" look. Most models have that chiseled look, and more celebrities now want that for themselves.

The Rise Of Buccal Fat Removal: Understanding The Trend Behind Hollow Cheeks

Although looking youthful has always been the goal for many people, they wouldn't want their faces to look too plump and full--thus the demand for buccal fat removal. The ultimate goal is to make the face slimmer and highlight one's bone structure. 

Cropped shot of young caucasian woman before and after plastic surgery buccal fat pad

As celebrities, there's always pressure to consistently look better than ordinary people.

However, some Hollywood celebrities actively deny that they had their buccal fat removed, thus perpetuating unrealistic standards and pressuring non-celebrities to get the surgery themselves to keep up with the standard.

The Buccal fat removal rage can be traced to the "heroine chic" trend of the 90s, where the gaunt, hollowed look was viewed as an aesthetic rather than a deep-rooted issue. 

The obsession with a skinny or hollowed face is ultimately related to how marketing tactics have conditioned us to make thinness a standard. 

Rob Smith, a merchandise manager from Macy's in the 80s, spoke to the guardian and mentioned how all clothing designs are initially in a small size. It wasn't initially sized to a normal person's proportions. 

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Some Surgeons Have Decided to Stop Performing Buccal Fat Removal Procedures

Dr. Gary Linkov has decided to stop performing the procedure; not because he thinks it's inherently bad, but because it didn't work out for him personally. 

In his professional opinion, there are just too many unsettling risks. 

In this YouTube video, he mentioned that there's a lot of patient discomfort during the surgery unless they're injected with local anesthesia. Even then, the inner facial structures cannot be numbed, so there's a lot of pain that could be felt by the patient. 

"You can actually feel the face being pulled on," he says in his video. 

"Another reason is that there are important structures where the buccal fat pad lives," he cautions, "What happens if one nerve gets injured?"

He mentioned an instance when one patient's nerve was temporarily affected wherein she couldn't lift one side of her lip.

Fortunately, it went normal after 3 months, but "it's still very unsettling," he mentions, "to both the patient and the surgeon." 

He also mentions one of his colleagues who performed the surgery had a patient whose cheek had gotten swollen. There are also rare cases of massive blood loss. 

In Closing

Natural reality vs fake social media. Perfect skin and white teeth with image retouch

Beauty standards are constantly changing, and the fact that our bodies can become "trends" in society's lens can pose more harm than good.

Of course, the individual choice should still be honored, but being aware of the procedure's risks, its root causes, and its eventual effect on our collective subconscious should have significant weight in our decisions. 

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