Q: I recently had a buccal fat extraction procedure 6 weeks ago. I had minimal discomfort and recovered quickly. I am concerned now, however, about the symmetry in the final result. I initially thought that the swelling on one side may go down more quickly than the other and I wanted to give it time to see if it was indeed the swelling or not. I did have slightly more removed out of one side than than the other because when I smiled it seemed to be bigger. I didn’t consider that it may it could end up being more sculpted on that side at rest (not smiling) than the other. At this point the one side is definitely “chubbier” than the other. So, I am wondering if think that it may even out a bit more if I wait longer?
A: A buccal lipectomy, or buccal fat extraction, is a simple procedure. But despite its ease of doing it, the final result does take some time to see. Because swelling goes away fairly quickly, within a few weeks, most patients understandably think that will be the final result. But the second phase of healing from this procedure is the contracture or scarring down of the space where the buccal fat was removed. This takes much longer, at least 3 to 4 months, before one can appreciate the fine details of the ultimate result. Whether your submalar areas will eventually even out and stay asymmetric can not be predicted. But I can say that it is too early to make a final judgment. Time is your friend at this point.