Is There A Risk of Nerve Damage With A Buccal Lipectomy?

Q:  Dr. Eppley, I am interested in buccal fat removal to make my cheek area less full but I have a few questions. If complete removal of the buccal fat pads is what is decided to be the best result after seeing my photos, is there a high risk for nerve damage?  I’ve read that partial, more superficial removal is fairly safe but complete removal poses a risk of possible facial paralysis and/or nerve damage.  From what I’ve heard and read it seems as if plastic surgeons are either for or against buccal fat pad extraction, in regards to the risks and how the patient will look when aging.  I don’t seem to find any middle ground.

A: Having done many buccal fat manipulations over the years, I have no concern with facial nerve damage with buccal fat removal. It is not something that I have ever seen. Whether it is subtotal or closer to a more complete buccal fat removal, that problem is completely avoidable if you know how to do the procedure properly. How aggressive one should be with buccal fat removal is based on what type of face they have and how much the buccal fat pads are contributing to the submalar fullness. The amount removed varies depending upon the patient, their immediate thinning needs, and in consideration of what the future may be as they age with their kind of face shape.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana